Most people know about black-eyed peas because eating them on New Year’s day is supposed to bring luck and prosperity. Whether or not they bring luck with the New Year, they bring nutritional luck because they are easy to cook, very nutritious and cheap.
How to cook black-eyed peas
Black-eyed peas in a can are ready to eat – no cooking needed! You can heat them up or use them in a salad right out of the can. (see Texas Caviar below)
Frozen black-eyed peas. Follow the directions, but it usually takes longer than other frozen vegetables. You’ll want to add seasonings as you cook so they aren’t so bland.
Dried black-eyed peas. Start with rinsing the beans carefully. There may some “look alike” pebbles that made their way into the beans, so it’s important to look carefully as you wash them. Add them to water, then cook on the stove for about 1.5 hours. Some people suggest soaking them first, but this is not necessary. You also can use a slow cooker or pressure cooker if you don’t want to cook them on the stove. Again, decide what flavors you want and make sure you add them as the black-eyed peas cook.
Fresh black-eyed peas. These are basically like dried black eyed peas, but they really don’t need to be soaked. One word of advice – when you get fresh peas home, open the package (cut a corner off if they are sealed) before you put them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. Put the peas in boiling water (with seasonings) and then simmer for about an hour and a half.
Simple ways to eat black-eyed peas
No matter how you cook black-eyed peas, they tend to be bland unless you add flavor. Just add rice or another grain and you have dinner! Black-eyed peas are eaten all over the world and the variety of seasoning from these different countries or regions is amazing… these are just examples, so please search for more on your own!
Africa: onion, ginger, tomato, onion, habanero pepper
Caribbean: onion, garlic, coconut milk, celery, tomato, spices
Greece: onion, greens, olive oil, lemon
India: multiple spices to make a curry
Isreal: butternut squash, greens, onion, ginger, mushrooms
Japanese-American: sugar, soy sauce, carrots
Morocco: tomato, onion, garlic, parsley or cilantro, spices
Pakistan: onion, garlic, ginger, green chili pepper, tomato, spices
Portugal: garlic, red onion, parsley, lemon
Southern USA: Bacon or pork, hot sauce or jalepeno pepper, onion, bell pepper, garlic.
Easy black-eyed peas recipes
One of the classic black-eyed pea recipes in the United States is “Hoppin’ John” a recipe where black-eyed peas and rice are cooked together. This delicious meal can be cooked on the stove, in a slow cooker, or with a pressure cooker. This dish was originally an African dish and is a historical reminder of the era of slavery in the United States.
“Texas Caviar”. This is a salad of black-eyed peas, which can be made with black-eyed peas from a can, saving a lot of time. There are many other variation on black-eyed pea salads which include cucumber and feta cheese, corn, or tomatoes and peppers.
Trivia about black-eyed peas
- Black-eyed peas are actually a bean. They are also called black-eyed beans and goat peas and are a type of field pea.
- The black-eyed pea most likely originated in China and was probably first cultivated in West Africa. It was brought to the South Indies by African slaves or slave traders around 1675.
- In the Southern United States, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s day is thought to bring luck in the New Year. There are many explanations of where this started. The most common one is that after the Civil War the Union soldiers taking over the South thought that black-eyed peas were animal food so they didn’t take them with other food.
- Eating black-eyed peas on Rosh Hashana is also considered to bring good luck.