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Jul 18, 2006 05:40 PM

purple hull peas

Can anyone tell me about purple hull peas, are they similar to black eyed peas? Does anyone have any good recipes?


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  1. Purple hulls and black eyes are two of a number of varieties of cow peas or southern peas. Shell them out. Snap immature pods. Rinse. Put in a pot of water and bring to a simmer. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface of the water. When they stop throwing off scum add sliced salt pork and more salt to taste. Cook until done. Add more hot water to keep them covered if needed. Sometimes I'll add an onion and/or some peppers to the pot, but usually it's just peas, water, salt pork, and salt.


    1. Chop an onion, smash three or four cloves of garlic, and dice a little tasso, ham or bacon. Saute the meat in a little oil until browned, then add the onions & garlic. Saute until fragrant, then add the shelled peas, water to cover, and several bay leaves, salt, black & red pepper, and a branch or two of fresh thyme. Simmer until the peas are tender, taste for salt & adjust. Serve over rice.....mmm good. Purple hulls are a little sweeter than blackeyes, not as meaty as silverskins or crowder peas.

      1. I make my peas like Celeste above, except rather than serving over rice, I make a skillet of corn bread to catch the pot "likker." Add some sliced home grown tomatoes and maybe some fried squash, and you have a great summer meal. Whippoorwills are the favorite pea variety in my clan.

        1. California Pink eye peas are our favorite! All theses recipes sound great! I like them slow boiled for a few hours with salt and pepper (going to try and add some sauteed jalapeno peppers tommorrow night). Served with fresh skillet fried okra and sliced tomatoto. Cut okra 1/4 in pieces and rolled in flour pepper & salt mixture. Fry until brown in 1/4-1/2 in of oil. The flavor combo of tomato, fried okra and purple hull peas is delicous!

          1. Purple hull peas were actually developed by Texas A&M a decade ago. They are also called the Texas pinkeye purple hull cowpea. They are cooked just as you would blackeyed peas, but I like them better. I like to cook them with either the salt-pork or a hambone.

            5 Replies
            1. re: danhole

              Dan, the purple hull pea has been around longer than ten years. I remember eating them as a child in the 50's. Didn't research it, but TAMU hybridizes so the pinkeye purple hull pea might only be 10 years old.
              Back to cooking, my dad always added a beef bouillion cube to the pot likker and mashed a few of the peas to thicken the broth. After my tonsillectomy, when I was 5, he smuggled pot likker and crustless Mrs. Baird's bread into the hospital for me to eat. Who wants jello when you can have pot likker.

              1. re: Pampatz

                Purple Hull peas (Cowpeas) have been grown in the southeast since slavery. They grow very well in our hot, humid climate. I'm going to try the pinkeye pea sometime, I hear they are a little more "meaty". I understand that the regular purple hull pea was the original pea used in Hoppin John.

                1. re: Pampatz

                  No, even the "pink-eye purple-hull" has been around longer than 10 years. I distintictly remember my dad using that term to describe our crop of peas over 20 years ago, and it didn't sound like the name was new to him then. I'm sure TAMU has developed many sub-varieties of the purple-hull pea, of which this very specific variety known as "Texas pinkeye purple hull cowpea" is probably one. But the Aggies don't have a patent on "Pink-Eye Purple-Hulls", let alone "Purple-Hulls" in general.

                2. re: danhole

                  Actually, purple hull peas are much older than a decade! I started planting them about 40 years ago. They're my favorite peas, but so hard to find here in the NC mountains if you don't grow your own.

                  1. re: danhole

                    We have a purple hull pea festival in town and they have been around for a very very long time..i am 37 now and my grandfather harvested these when he farmed..