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Nov 2, 2005 01:27 PM

Fresh black-eyed peas - how to cook?

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I went to the local Alameda farmer's market yesterday, and picked up a bag of fresh black-eyed peas on a whim.

Got them home and now realize I have no idea how to cook them! Any ideas or suggestions?

I looked around online, but most of the recipes deal with dried black-eyed peas. Also oddly enough, these peas are sometimes called cow peas.

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  1. Actually, cowpeas is the older name for them. They are part of the large family of African peas, not a true New World bean in conventional parlance...

    You don't need to parboil them, but the actual cooking time might be a bit longer than if you were dealing with parboiled dried peas.

    Otherwise, you can use the same recipes.

    1. Put them in a pan w/ just enough water to cover. Put a lid on the pan and simmer until they are tender to your level of preference. I think the timing can swing wildly depending on just HOW fresh they are.

      If your farmers market sells pepper jelley, try some as a condiment w/ fresh peas and beans.

      6 Replies
      1. re: danna

        You need to get some pork in the pot for seasoning, I prefer hog jowl but bacon will work too, cook them long and slow.

        1. re: Candy

          different strokes.......

        2. re: danna

          Thanks for the info! It'll be interesting to see if I like them :-)

          I assume I'm shelling the peas, right?

          1. re: No.19

            correct. a task that requires a television, IMO, or better yet, a small child. My Mom is a pea/bean freak. As a child I was pressed into slave labor shelling crowder peas(similar to black-eyed but better, IMO), lima beans (inlcuding the huge Fordhook that looks like a fava), breaking green beens, and other varieties of torture I have forgotten.

            1. re: danna

              I cannot wait until I have some pea-shelling kids in my household. Oh! the luxury!

              1. re: JudiAU

                My pea shelling kids revolted and I've only had my husband to help me shell for years. He is a good sheller though.

        3. Fresh black-eyed peas are so delicious. I simmer them in unsalted water until soft. (How soft is a matter of preference.) Then add salt.

          Sometimes we eat them plain, maybe add a dash of hot sauce.

          Peas and greens are a simple preparation: Cook a strip of bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and cook chopped onion in the grease. Add chopped greens (turnip, beet, chard...) with some water or broth. Cook until the greens are soft. Add cooked black-eyed peas and heat through.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Val Ann C

            Thanks for the info! I assume I'm shelling them? Pods don't like that edible :-)

            1. re: No.19

              Yes, shell those peas.

              1. re: No.19

                Make sure you rinse the peas well after you shell them -- to remove sand and grit. I like to put the shelled peas in a big bowl of water, slosh them around, and then lift the peas out, leaving water and grit in the bowl.

                You may also see papery coverings on the peas. Those are ok to cook, but it may look nicer if you rinse those off too.

                I don't think the pods are good for anything but the compost heap.

            2. Cook with fatback and a large chopped Vidalia onion.

              3 Replies
              1. re: BlueHerons
                Jim Washburn

                Yeah! And salt. Don't forget the salt.


                1. re: Jim Washburn

                  Only salt at the end.

                  Otherwise they turn to mush.

                  1. re: MidtownCoog
                    Jim Washburn

                    Maybe they turn to mush in your kitchen, but they do not do so in mine, and they taste much better if cooked with salt than if salted after cooking.


              2. Just thought I'd revive this post, as it is black-eyed pea season in my neck of the woods. I've been getting them at the local stand and am going tomorrow to pick a whole bunch to freeze. This topic and posts have guided my preparations, and I must say, black-eyed peas and collards are now way way up there on my list of my favorite meals. I do, though, add the veggie stock and at the end add some vinegar, compliments of Jack Bishop's "Vegetables Every Day" cookbook. My peas are simmering and my onion and bacon are saute-ing in anticipation of collards as I write.