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Are there any major differences in the various purple hull peas

Posted by lakedallasmary 7/8a - north texas (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 1, 07 at 11:52

There seems to be many different type of purple hull cowpeas. Like Mississippi pink eye, purple hull, pinkeye purple hull. I am sure there are more, but I am new to gardening so I don't know all that there are.

Anyway, does it matter which you get, or are they all pretty much the same?

Actually I have the same question for all the cowpea types like, are all the creams pretty much the same? And do on with black eyes, crowders, etc.

I don't think I will live long enough to grow out all the black eyed peas out there. So, if they are all pretty much the same with in groups, I could know, if I say don't like the flavor of cream peas or they don't grow well for me here, I can concentrate my efforts on other groups, and not keep growing creams expecting something different from different varieties.

I know this question seems silly, so just humor me. I think that I just over think things. I should just try stuff and not worry about all the what ifs.

Mary


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Are there any major differences in the various purple hull pe

1. Yes there are some major difference in purple hulls. The pink eye purple hulls are more like Blackeye peas in shape and size. The knuckle purple hull is a medium large Brown crowder. Brown crowders have a stronger flavor.
2. Cream peas come in all sizes and shapes from the tiny Lady and White Acre to the Zipper. Ther are also both bush and running types.
3. Crowders also have a large variation in size and color. They overlap with 1 and 2. main chacteristic is the crowing in the hull that results in the characteristic shape. They range in color from cream to solid black. Darker ones like the black crowder have the tendency to make a dark broth when cooked.
Blackeye peas different mostly in size and plant form. Princess Anne is very samll, but the majority of Blackeyes are the California type with California #5 the most popular.


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It's not silly, it's a good question, Mary. I will be interested in the answer. I've been experimenting with Southern peas for a few years here in the North, where most people don't have the faintest idea of what they are.

Like you, I have neither the space nor the time to trial many varieties (I like to grow a few other things as well, you know). Any information which would help me narrow down the choices would be a big help.

There must be people who like every one of them, or they would drop out of circulation. I read all the GW posts on Southern peas that come along to see which ones get the most favorable comments. So far, it appears that pink eye purple hulls win out for popularity. I planted the BVR (bean virus resistant) strain because that's what I could get. A few people place black eye peas at the bottom of their list. If these are the top and bottom of the list, for some people at least, it might be worth doing a taste comparison to educate outselves as to the difference, if our inexperienced palates can detect it.

People like myself, who did not grow up eating Southern peas, need to be educated about the proper methods of cooking and serving them too. People who ate them all their lives take that for granted. It reminds me of the Chinese couple who have been friends of ours for years. Shortly after we met them she showed us how to make those delicious Chinese dumplings, something strange and exotic to us at the time, from scratch using no recipe. We were impressed. Later, she called to ask me for a "recipe" for steak.

Jim


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I see that I was typing while farmerdilla was answering. Thanks for the good info, farmerdilla.

Jim


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I am no expert but I will give you my opinion on what I have grown so far.

I began growing cowpeas last year.

Here's how "I" cook them. I have tons of allergies, so I can't add what the recipes call for

I tried steaming them but they came out bland. I also tried cooking them in beef broth but the broth tended to over power the peas. The best way that I have found it to barely cover the peas with water and boil till they are soft. I found they taste better if you toss a few hulls in the water. I don't eat pork, so I add some beef fat to the water for flavor. I had them with pork fat as a kid. This is the best way (I think). I think they taste better if you add the salt while cooking not after they are done. The stuff you add to the water, gets absorbed into the peas. I eat the broth too.

Texas longhorn - 85 days. my favorite of the 4 types I grew last year. They are maroon peas with maroon shells and taste like boiled peanuts, yum! The stems even turn maroon as soon at the peas are about to ripen. These peas are fairly large so you don't need to harvest many to get a meal. I am the only one in my house that will touch cowpeas, so I gather only 8 pods. The peas are crowded. They can get very tall. They can get over 5' tall. Probably taller, my poles were short. They survived our 110 degree month, but they waited till that was over to produce again.

Rice peas - 85 days. These peas are cream peas. Very mild in flavor. very small too. Takes a bunch to get enough to eat. I found them to be a pain in the neck so I won't grow them anymore. These peas are also crowded in the pod. These where also very productive. They are also climbers, but did ok on the ground too. Not sure how tall they would grow since my pole were only 5 feet tall. They got to the top and grew along the strings I had attaching the poles. The heat and drought did not seem to bother these guys either.
The taste was ok, but did not taste like much of anything to me, and I did not like the mouth feel of such tiny peas. I tended to add them to other peas in case I did not have enough to eat to make a meal.

California black eye - 60 days. I thought they tasted horrible till I found out that I was picking them too soon. I read someplace you had to wait till the pod turned yellow. When the pods are green they are horrible. We had a horrible drought and terribly hot weather last summer, so these peas cried uncle, and did not produce much. The pods did not fill well and the plants where small. I am not sure what a non heat stressed black eye pea plant should look like, but mine were very small and short. I liked the taste but I won't be growing them anymore. I don't think they are Texas tough. I think they are a northified variety.

Purple hull - 70 days. The pods are purple and the peas are green with pink eyes. I liked the flavor. The vines seemed to run all over the ground. I don't know if they would climb if given a chance. I planted them very late in a empty spot in the garden, so they suffered lots of cowpeas aphids. I think this was due to cooler weather and our moist fall. They were planted the beginning of sept, and harvested beginning of November. Not anything I would repeat. It was sad to see the plants covered in bugs. The peas produced well though and tasted great. I plan to try purple hull again, to see if warmer weather keeps the bugs away. I did not save any seeds, since I don't save seeds from sick plants. I did receive some purple hulls on a trade so I could plant them again this year, but out of the 100 or so he sent they all had signs of weevils. I tossed all but 19 seeds. I may plant these away from all my other peas in case they still have weevils. Are weevils caused by wet soil? I did not get them in my saved seeds last year. The soil was not wet, but painfully dry most of the time.

Unfortunately, I don't think I will be able to have any cowpeas this year. The weather is cool this year, for Texas anyway. It has not hit 100 yet (or even 95) this year and it is July. The constant rain has kept the soil a big muddy mess. I am not even sure I will get to plant my cool weather crops. During a dry spell of about 1 week I did take a chance and plant a few cowpeas (botswana black eye, yardlongs, peking black, and texas longhorn), but then a few days later the insesant rain began again. I am surprised that about 3/4 of the seeds came up. Some have croaked since then due to the rain. I have a small amount of hope for a few plants in the high spots in the bed. I can't replace the empty spots though due to muddy soil. It has been raining about every day since april. Three months of rain. Last year we had a severe drought. I am a new gardener, so I have no clue what normal is.

Maybe if the rain lets up a little I can get some short season cowpeas planted. The shortest season ones I have are Mississippi pink eye. (I also have ozark razorback, mississippi pink eye, and purple hulls)

Since cowpeas were about the only thing that did well last year, I had plans to plant 8 types this year. This year, I think the only thing that would do well is rice! Oh, well, there is always next year.

I hope some of my descriptions help someone out there.

Mary


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Our tiller messed up & we haven't planted yet (& may not) but we usually get whichever 2 kinds the feed store seems to be running low on. Usually pinkeye & Mississippi. When we plant we put 2 peas per hole. For those of you needing recipes on how to cook purplehulls, go to Emerson's Pea Festival website (www.purplehull.com). There's even a recipe on how to make jelly from the hulls. I bought some at the pea festival/tiller race & not to ruin the surprise, but it tastes like grape jelly. To cook mine, I just boil them & put salt & oil & bacon in while it's boiling. Also, we store our shelled peas in an old (clean) pillowcase in the freezer. We got the idea from my grandfather who's late 70's & should know how to keep stuff.


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do you blanch them in anyway before putting them in the freezer?


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Kathy, why do you plant two peas per hole? Is it in case one dies or to thin one out or because two plants growing close together will still get good size and production?

I'm trialling Pink Eye Purple Hull, Mississippi Silver and a heirloom White Whipporwill this year. Think they are all upright growth habit. Have never grown cowpeas before, never had them fresh or as a shellie, dont think I have ever even tasted them once. So this will be a fun new discovery.

Are the flowers self fertile? Can they be caged to exclude cross pollination and get savable seed like other legumes? Can you eat them raw, pod included, or do they have to be cooked like limas?


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Happy, many cowpeas can be eaten in the green-pod stage. Yardlong beans are just a specialized form of cowpea, selectively bred for that purpose. They are just not all tasty, just as not all beans are suited for use as snap beans.

Although I started growing cowpeas several years ago for seed (and have cooked them as dry beans) I too have yet to try them as green-shelled beans. Rather odd, given that I enjoy so many other legumes in that stage. Perhaps because the varieties I have grown so far were mostly small-seeded.

I am growing 5 varieties of yardlongs this year, and the isolation requirements for seed saving prevent me from growing much more in the way of cowpeas... but I did slip in two "peas" grown for their seed. Hopefully in future years (once my yardlong trials are completed) I'll be able to grow more of the large-seeded cultivars. Happy, since you share my climate, I look forward to your observations.


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You're right, Zeedman, cowpeas and yardlong asparagus beans are both Vigna unguiculata. I hadn't noticed that! Guess I have tasted them, then, as I grew asparagus beans last year. Also just found out that mung beans and adzuki beans are also Vignas. Now I want to grow adzuki beans. A good link here.(p)

Tho we are both in Wisconsin there may be some slight climate differences. I think it is hotter and drier out here. (There is a great website to watch approaching rain on, called http://www.wunderground.com/(p)
Type in your zipcode, city or state, then click the regional radar, and if the storm is off the map scroll down and click the U.S Regions link for a country wide radar screen. You can get the weather for any country but the radar images appears to be for US weather only.)

I'll try all three cowpeas and the two yardlongs I have growing as snaps once they come on, and compare them here.
Am looking forward to it, especially since Kathy said purplehull jelly tastes like grape jelly. :)


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"...purplehull jelly tastes like grape jelly."

?????
I've got to hear more about this one... including the recipe!

Happy, that's a good link... I've often referred to the Purdue site for info on unusual vegetables. I took an interest in the Vignas several years ago, and have grown all of those listed except the Bambara, which another seed saver told me would not grow this far North (I still want to try it though).

I am currently conducting trials of two yardlongs, two cowpeas, and several varieties of Green Gram as part of a Philippine vegetable project, and have grown three varieties of Adzuki (two did well here). More info will be posted in the future, on other threads... or contact me off-site.


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I listed Mississippi pink eye twice. I meant to say I also have zipper cream that I could plant as short season variety. I think I will take the chance on a few more cowpeas for this fall, and hope the weather both warms up and drys up. They are just seeds. If I don't plant them, they won't grow will they.

I probably won't save any seeds though as I expect sick plants in the fall. I just have a hankering for some fresh cowpeas! Texas sure has weather extremes. Too hot, too dry or too wet, and sometimes too cold. Oh, well, we all have out weather challenges. That is what makes actually getting a decent harvest worthwhile.

Maybe cucumbers could deal with this extra moisture? I am thinking raised beds might be the way to go. But then in hot years it would dry up. Can't win. I'll just keep trying.


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To answer your blanching question..yes peas should be blanched for the freezer...just a couple of minutes will do the trick and then into ice water....I love peas and I love putting them up...in the freezer or canning them.


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Ruthieg, what is the point of blanching vegetables? Why not just dice and freeze them raw? Cooks here please explain this to a guy, thanks!


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Fruits and vegetables contain enzymes which cause them to ripen, soften and eventually spoil. Blanching destroys those enzymes, which halts that process. Freezing alone greatly slows the process but does not halt it.

Jim


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Thanks Jim, I did not know that. Explains why my frozen diced beans looked a little funny.

I run veggies through a big mouth food processor that slices them about 3/16th thick, do I have to plunge these millions of little bean slices into boiling water for 10 seconds then fish them all out and ice them down? Guess I should blanch before dicing instead. Do I have to blanch radish, turnip, and corn before freezing too?


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RE: Are there any major differences in the various purple hull pe

Every veggie needs to be blanched. Fruit I don't know about.

I freeze my whole grains such as rice, oats, flours, and nuts. The original bag the rice cam in is is all blown up like a balloon. Is this the enzymes at work. The rice has been in there for quite a while.


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You're right, Mary. Fruit is not blanched. I guess this is because it would produce an undesireable texture. And the reason for blanching vegetables is to prevent toughness, not softening. I usually check my facts before posting this sort of info, but I got sloppy this time.

Blanching time should be enough but not too much. It depends on the type of vegetable and size of pieces.

Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Freezing Vegetables


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I meant it literally, I don't know how to freeze fruit. I was not questioning what jimster said. I do think that when freezing fruit, sugar is generally added to prevent discoloration. But I am not sure, best to ask someone else.

Here is a link that might be useful: freezing fruit


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Sorry I haven't been here in a long time! Okay, here goes...

Lakedallasmary - no we don't blanch before freezing. We did before when we were canning but then my grandfather showed me how he did it, & since I am basically a lazy person, have done it his way ever since. You just put the peas in the pillowcase after shelling. Don't wash, don't blanch, nothing until you get some for cooking. Then you wash before cooking. We've done this for about 7 or 8 years with no problems & my grandfather has done it for far longer without any problems, so this method works for us. We only do it this way on the purplehull peas, nothing else except some of the corn & that we strip the outer husk, leaving some of the husk, & wrap in foil.

Happy - I am not sure why we put 2 or 3 peas to a hole. When they grow they make almost a solid row of bushes so I'm sure that's some of the reasoning. Also, in case one plant dies maybe? I don't know.


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RE: Are there any major differences in the various purple hull pe

Could you freeze the peas without shelling? Sure would be easier.

The reason I ask is, last year I blanched my cowpeas, by steaming them 4 minutes. If you boil them, the time would be less. Then I ice water soak for 8 minutes. I found that the peas did not taste as good as fresh. I know fresh is always better, but they tasted sorta bland. I even froze some of the blanched hulls to add flavor. I considered not cold water soaking them next time. I know this stops them from continuing to cook, but here is way I think I could skip that step.

When I freeze veggies: I lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze them. After they are frozen I place them in a largish zip lock bag. I find this easier than freezing them in individual serving sizes. I freeze them on the cookie sheet so the veggies won't stick together after they are frozen. This way, I can just reach in a take out how ever cowpeas, or whatever that I need at that time.

Does anyone have ideas on how to retain flavor when freezing cowpeas?


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I don't blanch and can't notice any difference from fresh peas if used the following winter. They just don't don't hold up in the freezer as long as blanched peas, but used within 6-8 months very good.


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The latest surprise in my cow pea education, is that pink eye purple hulls have yellow blossoms! I'm sure you experienced folks take that for granted, but I've never seen a pea or bean with a yellow blossom. And apperently I've never seen a picture of a purple hull blossom, because it was totally new to me. The color is sort of like a school bus, but toned down.

I saw the first blossoms just three or four days ago but they must have been there before that, probably hidden in the rampant foiliage, because today I noticed pods in several different sizes.

BTW, did you see the thread in the Harvest forum on making purple hull jelly? That was a new one to me also. Who would've thought?

Jim


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Thanks, Jimster; I was wondering where that jelly was mentioned. Now I've got to grow Purple Hulls, just so I can try it. Curiosity, the cat, and all that...

"...I've never seen a pea or bean with a yellow blossom."

Yellow is quite common in the genus Vigna (to which cowpeas belong) but few of the yellow-flowered species are commonly grown by U.S. gardeners. Adzuki, Black Gram, and Rice Beans all have yellow flowers. But I must admit, yellow _is_ uncommon for cowpeas... all of those I have grown were some shade of purple.

Jimster, I smell another trade coming... ;-)


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I was sure I had included a link to Purple Hull Jelly. Now it's gone. Am I going crazy or something? (Don't answer that.)

Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Purple Hull Jelly


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"Am I going crazy or something?"
Jimster, you are _SO_ asking for it!!! (lol)

I followed the link; this is an excerpt:
"Purple hull peas produce grape flavored jelly. White crowder peas produce honey flavored jelly. Lady peas make apple jelly; and by combining the hulls of crowder, purple, whippoorwill and lady peas a plum tasting jelly results."

Maybe its just me, but I find these claims a little hard to swallow, if only the hulls are being used. Would the jelly be hard to swallow as well? ;-)


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I believe this is a prime example of the psychology of taste. Have you noticed that ALL yellow colored vegetables (e.g. Yukon gold potatoes or yellow summer squash) are touted as having a "buttery" flavor, while similar vegetables without the yellow color (e.g. Red Pontiac potatoes or zucchini) are not said to taste buttery?

With pea jelly I believe there is more to it than color. There must also be a fruitiness or something which makes the jelly taste good. But, with that, I've reached the limit of my knowledge and maybe exceeded it.

Jim


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The "Early Lady" cream cowpea from Sandhill has a yellow blossom.


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Here's the recipe (go to www.purplehull.com for recipes on ways to cook peas, etc.)

PurpleHull Pea Jelly
4 cups juice (see below)
5 cups sugar
1 package Surejell
1/2 tsp. butter
This jelly is made from the hulls rather than
the peas. Wash empty hulls three or four times.
Boil hulls until tender. Strain juice.
Let juice boil, add Surejell and butter. When
this comes to a rolling boil, add sugar. Let
come to a rolling boil again. Let boil for 15
minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes. Skim. Pour
into jars and seal.
Above recipe from the Emerson, Arkansas
PurpleHull Pea Festival & World Championship
Rotary Tiller Race Web site:
www.purplehull.com


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I can't think that there is any really flavor from the hulls...but I think if you add enough sugar and pectic to boiled anything you can make jelly...


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Regarding freezing vs. blancing, my girlfriend picked
up a book on organic gardening that was written in the 50's. It reminds me of my moms old Betty Crocker book.
Anyway, it had charts showing vitamin/nutrient content
analysis on 15-20 varieties of veggies comparing frozen
to blanched.
Depending on the veggie, the blanched stuff had anywhere from 15-60% more vitamins than the stuff that was frozen. The book didn't make any claims on taste with
their comparisons, but it seems like more vitamins retained
should equal more original taste left. Just my theory.


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Jimster, I didn't want to post this on the bean thread... could you tell me the source for the Purplehull BVR seeds you traded to me last year? Preferably the commercial source, if you have that info. I will need that for my records.

I'm dying to try that jelly recipe!


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RE: Forgot to mention...

Looking back in this thread, I never mentioned that I grow another purple-hulled pea. I obtained "MN 157" from a trade several years ago. It is true bush in habit, with no runners, and very deep green leaves. The pods are deep purple when ripe, almost black when dry. The peas are two-tone brown & tan, fairly large, and 10-16 per pod. I will be looking forward to comparing them with the "Pink Eye Purple Hull" this year.


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My source for the Pinkeye Purple Hull BVR seeds was Victory Seed Company. They have a good selection of the more popular beans and peas, including 9 cowpeas.

Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Victory Seed Company


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Well, we were late with our planting but I did plant BVR & a new one labeled Top Pick. They aren't ready yet so I can't compare the Top Pick to the BVR in taste. I get my seeds from the local feed store & have for years. About the jelly - I've always thrown out the hulls before I'd remember I wanted to try making the jelly myself but I've bought some the Emerson Purplehull Pea Festival Committee (or whoever was the ones selling) made & were selling. It really does taste like grape jelly to me, but also alittle different if that makes sense?


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Kathy, did you attend the Emerson festival? It sounds very fun. I want to attend, although it's a long trip for me. I'll need to combine it with some other destinations around that area.

Jim


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Jimster, no I didn't get to go this year because I had to work, but the rest of the family did. It is alot of fun but it also gets boring once you've walked around & visited all the booths. The highlight I guess would be the tiller race. I barely can manage my tiller out in the garden so I don't know how those guys (& gals) manage with their modified tillers.


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How long will the pinkeyed purplehull produce?


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Ok ya'll here's the scoop. I've been eating and growing purplehull (that's right, down here it's one word) peas ever since I had teeth. A purplehull pea is a purplehull pea. The hull is purple and they are fine eatin'. Ya' plant'em in the spring (don't fertilize), grow'em, pick'em when the hull starts turnin' purple, shell'em, boil'em in water with a little salt and some grease or butter, or better yet some fat back, and then eat'em. You need a chunk of cornbread to help rake'em on your fork and to sop up what's left and some ice tea to wash it all down with. That's one fine meal!

Ya'll be good


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lardluver: Your 'recipe' sounds very good, as long as your not drinking that dreaded lol..."sweet tea". Smiling.
Sudzy


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This is a old thread but I have some opinion's on Purple Hull Peas as I grow them yearly. I normally grow Mississippi Purple Hull's. They offer large yeild's and will produce multiple times. I have however, found a pea that is superior in taste to regular PH peas. The variety is Texas Big Boy PH pea. They are bigger and much more tastey. They take longer to grow but are worth the effort. I now grow both varieties with great success.
How to cook/ I like to use a Hog leg bone or Deer leg bone. If that is not available, Hog neck from the store will suffice. In a large pot, cover bone with water and bring to a boil. Skim off white foam that will form in the water. This only takes a few minutes once boiling begin's. Add 2 quarts of peas,( I like leftover's),1/2 bag of seasoning blend, 1/2 pound of sausage. (I like Conechu brand), salt, pepper, lemon pepper and a little garlic powder. Bring to hard boil for 10 minutes, cover reduce heat to simmer for a couple hour's. Let stand, reheat prior to serving. It's great!


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  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 5, 12 at 0:53

Growing up on the farm, Father would tell us not to miss the full pea pods, because the vine would stop blooming.
I never saw one stop before hard frost.
We eat & froze all peas as green shelly peas.
The few (1/2 pound) that where dry was saved for seeds.


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Last spring I planted peas that were purchased to be purple hulls. They were not purple hulls. The vines spread out four to five foot and stayed kind of flat with long runners. The peas were larger than the purple hull, maybe seven to nine inches. The pea itself was large; do not remember the eye color. The taste was fantastic, kind of like a cream pea. The two places I purchase seed from say they do not carry a pea of that description. Does anyone have any idea what it could have been? Thanks, happy gardening.


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