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Cooking Dried Black Eyed Peas

So last night I attempted cooking dried black eyed peas. Based on the directions on the bag and everything I found on the internet, black eyed peas don't need to be pre-soaked like other legumes. I followed what I found and boiled them for two minutes, turned off the heat, and let them soak for an hour. By that time they were still quite firm. I let them soak for a while longer (at least an hour) but they really did not soften up. What do you think I did wrong? I eventually gave up and put them in the freezer. Any suggestions for what to do when I am ready to use them, and what to do next time I want to cook them, would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. My father used to say that when I die I should be stuffed with BEPs rather than buried so I guess you might tell from that I love those precious jewels. Soaking them will never soften them. Does soaking soften ANY bean/pea? I generally soak overnight but I have done the quick boil rarely. When I soak overnight the volume of the peas definitely increases even though they're still hard. I drain them. Lately I've been sauteeing onion, garlic and pork belly in a DO or any large pot. Once browned, I add the peas to the pot and water to generously cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook til tender (that's a relative term as I don't want them mushy but perhaps some do.) That's all there is to it - for me anyway.

    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      In my experience soaking definitely helps legumes soften. Only split lentils should not need it.

      The OP's problem could be caused (in part) by product that's just been hanging around too long in the supermarket supply chain. I can't recall seeing a 'use by' date on a bag of dried beans.

      Example: I just soaked overnight and long, slow cooked some (usually fool proof) black beans and (for the first time) they never got completely soft. As southerners have been known to say, Major Vapors!

      1. re: DiveFan

        Oh, lawsy, Miss Scarlett, you don't say :) But as others pointed out, the problem is that OP didn't cook them :) At least not the first night. This thread reminded me that I have some frozen BEPs and collards at home. Gotta do a pork roast soon.

    2. What you did was just the express pre-soak method (alternative is to soal in cold water at least 6 hrs). After the soaking, you need to put them in fresh water and simmer until they are tender.

      6 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        How long do you think that will be? Is it okay that I froze them in the soaked but not cooked state?

        1. re: arielleeve

          You need to cook from this point for an hour or two, or until they're tender. Yes, many people freeze soaked but uncooked beans.

          Since you don't eat meat, I'd recommend seasoning with something smoky like smoked paprika if you're planning on making soup, and plenty of salt (and at least onion and bay leaf) if you're planning to use them drained in a salad or similar.

          1. re: LauraGrace

            Ah, smoked paprika is a good idea. And, definitely plenty of salt. It's one of the few things that, IMO, need ALOT of salt.

            1. re: c oliver

              Smoked paprika is one of my tricksy ways to make bean dishes vegetarian -- I even do a vegetarian pintos a la charra by subbing oil and smoked paprika for bacon.

          2. re: arielleeve

            Although I like my BEpeas cooked with andouille sausage (or a ham hock or Benton Bacon), with some onions, I somehow added thyme to a batch years ago and found it to be a really good positive flavor addition.

            1. re: shallots

              JUST started my peas cooking, with pork skin and onion. I think I'll add some thyme. Sounds good. Thanks.

        2. Actually black-eyed Peas do need to be soaked like other beans/legumes.

          What you did is usually called a "quick soak" which is equivalent to soaking overnight. Another supposed advantage to quick soaking, when you drain the liquid, is the gas producing "sugars" are reduced.

          You're on the right track. I would now add ham hocks and mirepoix and cook until tender, usually simmer for 2 hours or until soft.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dave_c

            I don't eat meat, and was thinking I would use them in a three bean salad or something of the like when I am ready. I guess I will just simmer until they seem ready. Thanks.

            1. re: arielleeve

              Even without meat, I'd season pretty aggressively (onions, garlic, jalapeno, s&p, etc.) I ALWAYS serve them over rice and a side of greens. Splash of vinegar is great

              1. re: c oliver

                Last night I used some of them for a taco recipe (Martha Stewart). The cooking issue was not of concenr because the recipe called for cooking them with corn and water for a long enough time that they reached a good consistency. In any case, the recipe only called for jalapeno, garlic and onions, no seasoning, which I thought was strange, and definitely tasted bland. I added cumin and it was the perfect complement, esp with all the taco fixings.

          2. I just finished a bowl of blackeyed peas and ham hocks. The broth so rich, a bolognese quality to the broth with little strands of ham hock through the broth. Finding these today in the freezer, I'd made these about 6 months ago in the crockpot, where I cook all my beans. I didn't soak them overnight but I did for several hours. I cooked them as I would any bean, all day long. I too start with dry black eye peas, so I don't know what you could of done incorrectly. I do know that cooking beans stove top is iffy, easily scorched if you don't watch and have a heavy pot. I like the crockpot for this. I don't have to fool with them to much. I start with onion, celery and garlic and all the spices, broth and beans. Halfway through, I reseason, taste and add more onions and garlic, then the lid goes back on, and I wait.

            1. "What do you think I did wrong?"
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              You didn't cook them!!! ~~~ Next time you can choose to soak over night to rehydrate them which will reduce the cooking time somewhat. You can then cook them in the soaking water or pour it off and start with fresh water/stock. Then cook! Or you can use the par-boil method of "soaking" where you boil the peas, beans, etc for a short period of time, then allow them to soak for an hour or so... then cook. This seems to be the method you tried....Except you never cooked them.

              Personally, I soak all dried beans, peas, etc overnight. Pouring off any remaining soaking water, I choose to start the cooking process with fresh cold water or stock. Sauteing some onion, bell pepper, and sometimes celery in the pot before adding the soaked beans is a plus for me!.
              Bring the peas, beans, etc, (and any sauteed vegetables) to a boil....cover and reduce to a simmer until done...In my area it is popular to add seasoning meat...Any of the usual smoked pork products, (ham, tasso, ham hocks, salt pork, bacon. jowl, etc) are good. HTH

              1. I bought a giant smoked hamhock and a bag of dried, organic black eyed peas at my neighborhood mid range supermarket at its closing sale. Last Friday night I set aside an hour for soaking and 2 hours for cooking.

                I brought 8 cups of water to boil, dumped in 2 cups of be peas, let them boil for a few minutes and then removed them from the burner and covered and let sit for an hour. Then I started a broth with the hamhock, half a red onion, some stray garlic cloves and some whole peppercorns. An hour after soaking the peas, I poured off most of the pea liquor and dumped them into the broth. I brought it back to a boil, turned it down some and washed the dishes. When I stirred the peas 15 minutes later, I noticed that they had plumped and were actually starting to break down a little. They were soft and tender, although the broth itself could have used more time. I cooked in a standard large saucepan that my mom used to make beef stew in.

                What gives? I had fine black eyed peas in an hour and a quarter!

                2 Replies
                1. re: chocolatetartguy

                  Black eyed peas don't require the same cooking time as do beans. They are peas.

                  I like my black eyed peas cooked with tomato, as well as the ham. Or perhaps they weren't really dried?

                  You have just reminded me that black eyed peas are absolutely delicious.

                  My advice with these peas--next time don't soak.

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy

                    That sounds right to me. Black-eyed peas don't need a long soak or as long a cooking time as others have mentioned in this thread. An hour of simmering is typically as long as I need to cook them.

                  2. You do still need to cook them after you soak them.

                    1. Once you did the quick soak (which you did and I do the same thing), they need to be drained and THEN cooked. I love black eyed peas - Even when I do a quick soak I'll put them in the crock pot and let them go for 6 - 8 hours. They are not done yet, after the soak.

                      1. I think what people have said is clear to someone who knows how to cook dried beans, but maybe you are still new at this. On many packages, the are two steps:

                        Step 1: soak overnight or parboil the beans for two minutes and rest

                        Step 2: change the water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for, say, 45 minutes or until tender.

                        As others have said, you only did step 1. The critical step for cooked beans is step 2.

                        As some have mentioned, peas can be successfully cooked without step 1, but step 2 is necessary. Whether or not step 1 is necessary is like religion among bean cookers. Good authorities on both sides. I do not soak, but learned the hard way that undercooking beans in step 2 without soaking will make one very miserable.

                        I cooked my peas today for tomorrow's dinner in the fireplace next to the fire. My first time to do so. What wonderful peas! No soak, about 1:15 cook time. Just salt and pork jowls. More evaporation than on the stove.

                        1. CROCKPOT is your answer!! Soak peas overnight, cook in crock pot! Your frozen peas will be fine when you cook them again.

                          1. I cooked 2 C of blackeyed peas this week, w/out soaking in the pressure cooker. It took about 20 minutes after the cooker came up to pressure. I love these! So easy. Be sure to add a some acidic product--tomato based or citrus based--to enliven the dish. I like mine topped with salsa and grated cheese.

                            1. You should really soak them for two hours, then you still have to cook them for about an hour and a half. The soaking just rehydrates them, but doesn't cook them.

                              1. I too am having trouble with blackeyed peas. They were soaked, then I boiled them, turned it down and let them simmer. Checked them after 2 hours and they were still hard. I have been cooking them since 9:00 last night, it's now 12:05 and they still are crunchy??? I don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: indutime

                                  Dried blackeyed peas should become tender fairly quick. In my earlier post I mentioned 20 minutes in the PC, but after consulting my PC cookbook, I only cooked them for 7 minutes today, releasing pressure, and let them sit for awhile inside the pot. They were perfect.

                                  You do not have to soak black eyed peas to cook in the PC. I wouldn't soak them if I was simmering them either. I wonder if you got hold of really old peas? Sometimes really old legumes take a long time to cook.

                                  Some say that cooking in an acid liquid, like tomatoes with juice, will keep them from tenderizing. I hope your peas eventually softened up and became tasty.