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I usually break groundnuts by putting them between my teeth. This often results in shattering the groundnut kernel.

The problem with smashed kernels is removing the papery cover as well as the outer cover which gets smashed and mixed with the kernel pieces. It is difficult to separate them then.

For making peanut butter, how should the groundnuts be shelled?

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Normally I'd suggest YouTube, as it'd be easier to see the technique than read it. But it appears no one has uploaded a (serious) video on how to shell peanuts. I'm shocked. –  derobert Feb 1 '13 at 11:57

2 Answers 2

For peanut butter, it doesn't matter if the individual peanuts inside the shell get broken or not, you are going to grind them down anyway.

I shell them just by squeezing them between my fingers and thumb, against the widest part of the bulge, on the seam diving the two halves shell. A little practice and you will soon get the technique.

Response to edit: Then, just rub the individual peanuts between your thumb and fingers to remove the papery skin after you remove the outer shell. You might also do larger batches by rubbing them under your hand in groups in a folded over towel.

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the problem is removing the papery cover on the kernels. If the kernels get smashed, their covers (outer and inner) will get smashed too, it is difficult to separate them then. –  TheIndependentAquarius Feb 1 '13 at 10:43
    
Just rub them between your thumb and fingers to remove the papery skin after you remove the outer shell. It does't matter if the peanut halves come apart. Remember, you are going to grind them anyway for pb. Also, the skins are edible--they just mar the appearance of the pb a bit, so if a small amount remains I would not worry about it. –  SAJ14SAJ Feb 1 '13 at 10:47
    
If the individual peanuts inside the outer shell are getting smashed when you shell them, something is wrong with your shelling technique (I suppose it is also possible the peanuts were improperly roasted so the shell is harder to break, or the peanut itself more fragile, but I cannot imagine how). Peanuts in small quantities should be easily shelled with just finger pressure, while leaving the individual peanuts inside intact most of the time (and just halved at their seam the rest of the time). –  SAJ14SAJ Feb 1 '13 at 10:58
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something is wrong with your shelling technique I know that, that is the reason I created this thread. –  TheIndependentAquarius Feb 1 '13 at 11:01
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Your original AB recipe has a roasting recipe directly below it. I also tried to update the description of how to shell them by hand in the answer, but it is something you just need to learn for yourself. I don't think anyone gets taught to shell peanuts, we just learn to do it while eating them :-) –  SAJ14SAJ Feb 1 '13 at 11:03

You can most generally shell peanuts with your hands. There are different methods you can do depending on how sturdy the shells are.

1- If the shells are sturdy, hold each side of the neck (if you know what I mean) with each hand, and then break it apart. Now you have two shells with peanuts in them but there is a hole in each shell. Take one of them and apply pressure to the side opposite from the hole by putting the shell between your thumb and index finger and pressing your thumb. The hole will get bigger and you get your peanut.

2- If the shells are not so sturdy (which most often is the case), do the last step in the previous method. Just apply pressure by putting the shell between your thumb and index finger and pressing your thumb a little hole will form, get bigger, and then you get your peanut.

3- If the shells are really thin, and your fingernails are long, you can just crack into them by pressing with your nails.

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Maybe my fingers are strong, or I have been lucky with peanuts, but I have never had (2) fail :-) –  SAJ14SAJ Feb 1 '13 at 15:50

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