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An observation about cowpeas

Posted by sudzy 5b IL (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 22, 08 at 23:38

I planted black eyed peas this summer just for the soil. I think they are the neatest thing!. I've never seen (nor have my neighbors) peas produce this way. A stem just shoots up from the main stem, and then two pea pods hang off it. I'm just really getting a kick out of thinking that these have been grown for centuries. Sure wish EVERYONE could see how our food is grown. Smile
It's a shame that they have no flavor. I've never tasted cowpeas before, but from reading this forum, I take it that CA blackeys are not so good. Dang.
Thanks for reading,
Sudzy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: An observation about cowpeas

It is ashame that more people don't grow these types of peas, easy to grow, relatively problem free, build the soil drought tolerant, highly nutricious(sp), and great taste ( unless you plant california black eye).
Next time plant some crowder or cream peas. Rodger


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

Black eyed peas are my least favorite for flavor. But, when others aren't available... they'll do! Try cooking some up with some bacon or sausage in with them, a little salt, and if you are inclined: a hot pepper. I mainly cook mine dry. Others can give you advice on cooking the shell stage.

I'd definitely harvest and eat some!

George


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

George, I do believe you're right. Gosh. I gotta try some. Some have to be moved cause my brocolli is about ready for transplant. But, I will save enough to dry for a pot. Is the recipe that you just gave me, is what's called Hopin John?
Thanks
Sudzy

actually, I don't know the variety. I just planted all black eyes from a bag of beans from the grocery. I'm assuming they are CA.

Yes, Roger, I have been reading all the whiperwill threads and they are planned for next year.
thanks


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One way of serving cowpeas is to put them over a bowl of Southern style (i.e. made without sugar) corn bread and pour some of the pot likker over them. Then top with cha cha (aka chow chow) and/or sprinkle with hot sauce. If you don't have cha cha, some sort of pickle relish might work.

This is what is known as good eatin'.

Jim


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

"Next time plant some crowder or cream peas."

On that topic, could someone please list the various types of cowpeas (other than Blackeye) and what makes them special? Crowder, as I understand it, is a reference to how the peas are packed in the pod... but is it a type as well? How about cream peas, and lady peas? Best type(s) for fresh shelling?

I have been following the Whippoorwill thread with interest, since I received some in a trade. The original plan was to grow them this year, but they were among the many things that I put off due to the lateness of my planting. However, I did plant your purplehulls, Jimster... they are just now in full bloom, and I am crossing my fingers hoping for a late frost.

By the way, someone else told be that Purplehulls were a bush variety. If they are, I would hate to see a pole variety! Mine already have 3-4 foot runners, and are climbing plants in the adjacent rows 3 feet away. In contrast, "MN 157" (a bush purple-hulled variety) has a single 2-foot "runner", with a terminal bud cluster. Two rows of "MN 157" occupy the same space as the single row of Purplehulls - and the Purplehulls have not yet stopped growing!

The comparison should prove interesting as the season progresses. I'll try to post photos when the pods are more developed.


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Put a thick slice of bacon, some salt and enough water to cover the fresh shelled peas in a pot and boil'em till they are tender(about an hour and carefull not to let the water boil out). Then fry some corn bread, slice a fresh tomato, put some sliced onion and a green cayenne pepper on the side and have a feast. The peas will be better the next day heated and poured over crumbled up left over corn bread.
When I was growing up dinner( in summer) was the big meal with meat, peas or butter beans, corn bread, etc. Then the leftovers were pushed to the center of the table and an old table cloth thrown over it. At supper the only thing cooked was corn bread the rest was eaten cold or rather room temperature.
My personal favorite are crowder peas but I like them all.


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Put a thick slice of bacon, some salt and enough water to cover the fresh shelled peas in a pot and boil'em till they are tender(about an hour and carefull not to let the water boil out). Then fry some corn bread, slice a fresh tomato, put some sliced onion and a green cayenne pepper on the side and have a feast. The peas will be better the next day heated and poured over crumbled up left over corn bread.

Hey, you just described the way my dad had to have his navy beans! or butter beans...he throw a fit if there were no sliced onion and hot peppers (or sauce) ha. the next day he's eat them cold on toast.
Ok then I'll try the same with the black-eyes. Thank You

Jim, your recipe sounds delicious. I'll try it! And bye the bye, southern style cornbread was the only way my Ky born grandma would cook it. In a cast iron skillet actually, afloatin in bacon grease.

You two are bringing up some great memories. Thank You.
Sudzy


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Jimster, from someone up north, you surprized me with the chow chow and corn bread. Good eating. Peas corn bread fresh onion as a garnish on top and chow chow that is a meal. The only thing missing is a cold glass of buttermilk with crumbled up hot corn bread fresh out of the skillet tossed in.

Zeedman I will try to give a run down on types of southern peas as I understand them.
The first catogory would be shape. There is two types of peas based on shape. The kidney shape and a fat blocky shaped which is called a crowder pea because the peas are crowded into the hulls resulting in the peas forming fat blocky shapes. Within these two shapes there are several other types of peas based on color, size, taste, or time to maturity. These are, whipporwill peas, eye peas, 6week peas, calico peas, and cream peas.They can be either crowder type or kidney shaped and vary from the different regions of the south

Whipporwills are all small seeded peas mainly crowder types but not always. They are always speckeled and are some shade of brown in color. The brown hues with speckels and small size mimic the Quail or whipporwill fowl which is how the name came about. Within each region of the south even within counties and communities the colors or hues can vary. White whipporwill is an exception and resulted from a off type pea in a patch of standard whipporwills. White whipporwill has no eye is a crowder type shape and is cream colored making it more of a cream pea than a true whipporwill.

Eye peas can be kidney shaped or crowder types and have disticnt eyes that are black, brown,pink or green. They are usually in solid colors with some being bicolored commonly called calico peas. Such as pinkeye purple hull crowder and blackeyed peas and browneyed calico which is a tan and white crowder pea with a distinct dark brown eye.

6week peas usually refers to any type of solid colored pea that matures in about six weeks. I know of no speckeled 6week peas because those would be whipporwills and I know of no calico 6 week peas because those would be calico peas.I have also have not come across any eyed 6week peas because I quess those would be called a ----eyed pea. I have a black seeded six week crowder and a tan seeded 6 week crowder also a black seeded kidney shaped 6 week pea. Again each region has there own type of 6 week peas and they are not all crowders but are solid in color and have no eyes.
Lady peas are a named type referring to a very small seeded white pea with no distinct eye and kindey shaped. Rice peas are very similiar to lady peas ie small white no distinct eye but elongated like rice and about the same size as a grain of rice both of these peas are cream type peas.
Cream peas are typically any pea that is light colored mainly a cream colored and can be crowder or kidney shape but produces a mild creamy broth when cooked. Darker peas produce a more earthy richer brooth. Also the cream type peas tend to cook down quicker forming a creamy tectured broth.

There are also several calico peas which are bi-colored or two toned in various shades of red and white, or tan and white, or black and white that are standard kidney shaped or a crowder type pea. They can also have a distint eye but that is rare.I even have one that is red and white with speckels and a small crowder which would technically make it a whipporwill except for the fact that it is not a shade of brown. Other calicos I have are Hereford, pole cat, ham and gravy and a chicken and dumpling pea all of which are red and white. I have a holstien pea which is black and white and a few tan and white calicos.
I hope I have shed a little light on the types of southern peas and not confused anyone. And This is not gospel but my observations based on my travels and seed collecting and occasional readings on the subject. Rodger


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I forgot to mention another named characteristic of peas and that is pod color. Southern pea pods when ripe are either yellow or purple. Purple is the all around favorite at least around here. There are several cultivars of purplehull peas they can be regular or crowder and with eyes or not. When referring to a pea variety, if it has a purple hull that is usualy part of the name like Pinkeye purplehull crowder. There is pinkeye purple hull (non crowder) there is knuckle hull a purple hull pea, old timer purple hull and purplehull stickup peas are all examples of purpled hulled peas. I can't think of a purple hull pea that is a calico pea or a cream pea I can only think of solid colors with or with out eyes and regular and crowder types
On size of the vines peas I don't believe peas were ever meant to be trellised. They were commonly planted to form a ground cover which is one of the benifits of the pea. The tight mass of vines quickly cover barren ground minimizing errosion and adding lots of organic matter to improve soil tilth also the nitrogen added to the soil. Peas were commonly grown as a forage crop and combined and baled as hay. This accounts for many types of peas refered to as Cowpeas. Some of the common type peas with very long vines include Red ripper, I have a pea called Charlie pea, Texas longhorn, Botswana and the yardlong peas these are examples of peas that will have vines well over 12ft in lenght and even though they will climb on something if available they are just as suited to plant in rows 8-10ft apart and allowed to blanket a field. The mass of peas can choke out perennial invasive weeds. This allowed riding a field of noxious weeds so it could be planted with another crop the following year.
Most peas are going to produce plants with a spread of 30-36 inches. Newer varieties are smaller around a 2ft mass. With exception of the very long vined peas like I mentioned above it takes too much work to train peas up a trelis. Not that you can't but I believe you would find that most of the vine wants to spread horizontally vice vertically and the vines are thick, rigid and very fleshy and if you try to manually wrap them around a pole they will break, so let them sprawl.Again, the exception would be the very long vined peas that I mentioned above and The yardlong peas these seem to climb well and not tend to go horizontal if provided poles to climb on.
Another observation is most peas will produce a crop in 6-8weeks, peas also rippen all at once After the first crop is picked the vines will look tattered and dying, and some may even die out mainly due to enviromental factors such as drought and damage from picking but if given water and good weather ie some heat most will put out new vines and produce a secound crop in about 3-4weeks. The vines will be larger than when the first crop was produced and I have even had a third crop on peas. This makes me wonder if peas aren't actually perennial vines.

When it comes to taste this is alway subjective. I personnally like crowder types and just like with tomatoes or beans everyone needs to try different types to find what they prefer. I can tell you there is a whole world of good eats that only we as gardeners can enjoy because we are the only ones that grow these southern staples and I'm not talking those bland mealy tasting california blackeyes. So you folks that have at least 8weeks of good warm weather plant some good southern peas. Rodger


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Sudzy,

the postings above show a lot of ideas on how to fix'em. I have to look up "Hoppin John." I've read about the dish, but I haven't seen a recipe.

What I do with cowpeas (or "peas" as most Southerners would say) is possibly a bit unique to me. I'm from New England roots, raised in NJ and never tried these Southern peas until I was an adult. A good part of my adult years were in Mexico and I adopted a good many Mexican preferences. Incidentally, the only way I ever saw these prepared in Mexico was from shellies cooked in tamales.

But I've come to enjoy mine cooked from dry beans with some bacon or sausage, salt and a hot pepper and then eaten with cornbread, tortillas or rice. They are great served over rice. I find them so good that one time, when driving home from the office, with some cold leftovers, I polished off a bunch, just eating them with my fingers, with nothing to accompany them.

This year I had a couple stalks of Mesquakie Indian corn volunteer along with a plant or two of Penny Rile Cowpea. They were together and I left them. In fact I still need to harvest the peas. But it is a nice sight, the corn with the cowpeas climbing them, and that, covered in pods.

George


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Am I enjoying this! Yes.
There is bush varieties of the purplehull pea. The Quick Pick and the Top pick. I believe these were developed for commercial production as the peas are firmer and not quite as flavorful to me.


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Am I enjoying this! Yes.

Me too, oldpea, me too.

Roger, thank you so for all that info. Wow. So much for me to learn. The black-eye that I planted is a gorgeous vine. Dark green leaves, with a light melon color flower. My pea pods are getting to be about 6in long.

Peas were commonly grown as a forage crop and combined and baled as hay. This accounts for many types of peas refered to as Cowpeas.

Thanks for this info. Interesting.

George, thanks for sharing a bit of yourself. :) Your "recipe" for peas sounds an awful lot the same way that I cook black beans and rice. I will definitely try them that way too.

Thanks awfully for all the answers to this thread. I've enjoyed it. lol. I'm already searching seed catalogs dreaming about which pea I'll plant next year and they won't be for the soil, they'll be for ME.

Sudzy


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"By the way, someone else told be that Purplehulls were a bush variety. If they are, I would hate to see a pole variety!"

They do ramble a bit, don't they? ;-)

If you need more seed next year just ask. I'm getting a good harvest just now. It has been a good growing season here.

"Jimster, from someone up north, you surprized me with the chow chow and corn bread."

I didn't come by that naturally, Rodger. Cow peas are basically unknown in the North and Northerners don't know what to do with them if they have any. I had to study, and it was the folks here on GW who taught me. Except for the buttermilk you mentioned, which I have enjoyed all my life.

Cow peas grow extremely well in my garden. So that isn't the reason they aren't grown here. It's a strange situation because they are such good eating.

I would have said it is impossible to categorize cow peas, but you did it Rodger. I don't know who else could have done that. It's an amazing feat.

Jim


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Jimster, thanks for the offer of extra seed. Hopefully it will be unnecessary, as my plants have a heavy pod set, and there are still about 5 weeks before frost. Unless, of course, it comes in mid-September, like it did last year.

In any event, as a seed saver, I'm pretty miserly with seed... I never put all my eggs (or seeds) in one basket. Should this year's crop fail, I still have enough left to plant next year.

Rodger, that was a wealth of information. In retrospect, it is rather strange that peas (other than blackeyes) are so unknown outside of the South. They are pretty easy to grow, and in terms of yield & maturity, are comparable to many beans grown for dry use.

I'm left wondering whether some of the cowpeas that I have collected so far defy categorization. "MN 157" is a purple-hulled brown & white calico. There is another in the "MN-" series that is black & white, which I hope to grow next year. And a Philippine variety, "Bush Sitao Var. BS-3", is a kidney-shaped calico that is good as either green pod or dry bean.

A look at the USDA's collection is simply mind-boggling. Counting sub-species, they have over 7000 cowpeas!!! I think that there is a great deal of untapped diversity there.

The dishes listed here really got my mouth watering... I hope I can find some recipes. If I like them, I guess I'll be growing even more beans! After all, I still have a little lawn left (lol).

This thread has reminded me that I never did buy a pea sheller. I remember a thread listing a source, hope I can find that thread.


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Zeedman, I read your post now I'm trying to figure out how I can grow 7000 varieties of peas. I need to check out the USDA website.
What does the MN series stand for?. and as I stated I couldn't think of hand of any calico or creme pea that was a purple hull pea. I have several tan and white calico peas which is probably similar in color as your brown and white.
7000 peas I have grown 70 so I am 1/100 of the way there.


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Rodger, the "MN" series was developed by the University of Minnesota. See, somebody Up Nort Der Eh was interested in growing peas! They were trying to develop short-season varieties... with some success, judging by how well "MN 157" performed here for me. The black & white calico I mentioned above is "MN 13".

"7000 peas I have grown 70 so I am 1/100 of the way there."

Uh oh, I think I really opened up a can o' worms this time! Easy Rodger! (visions of tractors gone wild)


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LOL I can see it now: "Uh, my names Rodger... and I'm a cowpea junkie..."


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  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 28, 08 at 21:35

Can you suggest a variety or three for a cowpea newbie (and sellers too)? Next year I will need to plant an area currently occupied by a black walnut, and beans are one of the few juglone tolerant crops. I will amend the soil (clay) first, but I wanted all along to plant 1/2 to 1 lb of shelling bean seeds. The only other crop that can cover such an area without dying is squash, but I have a lot of uses for fresh frozen beans, through the winter.

The strong vegetation (compared to regular shelling beans) will help with remediation of the site, as a Cornell web page says that lots of organic matter degrades juglone quickly. I am in Zone 6 according to the newer maps. There will be water, wood ash, mycorrhizae (sp?) and full sun.


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You'll get LOTS of recommendations. There are so many good ones. Here are two I'd recommend:

Penny Rile (cream pea)
Black Crowder

Both can be obtained at Sandhill Preservation Center.

George

Here is a link that might be useful: Sandhill Preservation Center


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I agree with macmex, there are a lot of good ones around and Black Crowder is a great one. Mississippi Silver Hull is a good variety also. I grew Texas Cream 40's this year for a cream pea. The taste is good but not great to me. I think I'll try the Penny Rile next year. I've heard good things about them.


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I grew Pinkeye Purple Hulls last year and liked them so much I grew them again this year, passing up the opportunity to try something different. My garden is small, so one or two cowpeas each year is about all I can manage. I'm open to suggestions for next year. I sure do like the PPHs though.

Jim


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  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 29, 08 at 21:49

I do not mention it enough, but these fora are a great treasure. Thanks to all.


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  • Posted by ppod 6 SE NY (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 7, 08 at 13:37

Very interesting thread.

I too love Sandhill for their fresh seeds at reasonable prices.

In addition, Willhite, TX, lists two pages of Southern peas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Willhite's Southern peas


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Ppod, thanks for the recommendation... I've bookmarked them. Seems like a good company.


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Jim (jimster), I understand! It's so fun to try new varieties. But it's also hard to NOT grow one, in order to try another. My wife was really worried last year, that I might not grow Penny Rile. As it is, this year, that's the only one I managed to get in, and that,... late. But next year I hope to get in an early crop in order to ENJOY them more.

George


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I actually know a couple of people who work at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and I love their business model :) They have many organic and heirloom seeds, and those I bought from them this year (both southern and english peas) came up wonderfully. I read on a blog that I could plant peas in the fall as well as spring here in Zone 6 (central Virginia). They're coming up, but we'll see if they produce anything. From what I've read they're traditionally planted in the spring. I'm curious, though, is that only english peas? Are southern peas full season plants?

Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange


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Greetings,
Each and one forum that I visit, never fails to amaze me.....

I have just planted the cow pea (black eye pea)...sowed the seed into a pot,like 2 weeks ago
and now the plant is healthy with young green leaves....Was just wondering how to plant this yesterday,
as this is my first time...... This thread is helpful..

All the peas and beans are important protein in my household, as we are vegetarian. I normally cook this as
curry. Boil the black eye pea until it is soft (but not so mushy). In the hot wok heat oil,splutter the mustard seed,
a small piece of cinnamon stick,few cardamom pod,few cumin seed, followed by grated onion, grated ginger,
grated garlic. Then add the cooked black-eyed peas,2/3 cup water,2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves (chopped)
or curry leave,2 chili (cut) and salt(as per your taste). You can add the Indian curry powder (if you want it a little spicy).

Simmer for about 10 mins and you can eat it with rice,bread,chapatti (Indian bread)....


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Sankri, thanks! That's a recipe I'm going to try!

George


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Bobbic, Southern peas are a hot weather crop and are planted when the ground is good and warm. I would think mid May for you and continue planting until first week in Aug for a fall crop. The English peas are cool weather crops and are planted early spring maybe early march for you and Sept. For fall.
Did you happen to brave the rain on Saturday and attend the Fall festival sponsered by Southern Exposure Seeds at Monticello. I gave the talk on Heirloom beans and brought a rather large collection of beans and peas to the seed swap.
Also Southern Exposure will have two new southern peas for 2009. Colosus a large tan crowder introduced in 1972 by Clemson University and Ozark Razor back an old University of Ark. release, it is a red and white calico crowder pea.
Rodger


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Thanks for the sympathy, George. I know it is heartfelt. ;-)

If it weren't for seed saving, I would have less of a predicament. Small gardens and seed saving don't go together. I'm still trying to figure out a compromise strategy. In the mean time, how about these Pinkeye Purple Hull shellies? Pretty, eh?

PinkeyePurplehullShelled Pictures, Images and Photos

Jim


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Very pretty!


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Wow, I can almost taste them. Hey wait, I'm growing them too... I think I will taste them!


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rodger, tell me about the Arkansa Razerback Crowder please. Does it make a dark gravy(soup)? The colors of the pea sounds interesting. Next season I would like to try a couple of rows of new(to me) varieties of crowder peas. I tried black crowders for the first time this year and loved them(only planted one 50 foot row). They must be popular around here as I found the seed at the local farmers co-op. I really like Mississippi Silver Hull. My late planting of them are making good now. The Texas Cream 40's I planted were good for a cream pea but not great to me. I would like to try a different one next year. Do you have any suggestions on a cream pea for Southeast Alabama? Any help is appreciated.


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Sankri;
Thank you for your recipe. It sounds very interesting, very much outside my taste experience. I've jotted it down and added it to my collection of "must trys".

---
Nicccce picture, Jim. ( or as my son would say, "sweeeeet"

Sudzy


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Rodger, I wish I'd known it was even happening! I'm not very good at keeping up on local events. I work in C'ville, although we live northwest of town. I'd love to explore planting peas and beans all along my dog fence, since they scare away anything that would usually snack on such things :D


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Rodger, or someone else with Southern roots, please help me out on the subject of peas "with snaps". I have always assumed the snaps in this case were immature pods from the same vines as the peas. Suddenly, I started to wonder if the snaps used this way are snap beans.

Still learning,

Jim


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Jimster, I've never seen 'snaps' cooked by themselves and I've lived in Southeast Alabama for the better part of 70 years. Hard times will force one to do different things so I ain't sayin' it's hasn't been done. I've always had them mixed in with the shelled peas. I personally like a lot of snaps mixed with a mess of peas.


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Concur with Bamagrit. Snaps are the immature pods of the southern pea. Always pick a few when picking for green shellies. Rarely are they used a lone in the south, but times they are a changing. If you like Yardlong beans, they can be prepared in the same ways with very similar results.


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My question wasn't clear, but I got the answer anyway. It's as I originally thought, the snaps which are cooked with peas are pods from the pea vine, not snap beans.

I wasn't thinking that snaps from pea vines would be used alone. The similarity to yardlongs is interesting though, something to think about.

Thanks for clearing this up for a Northern guy.

Jim


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Man, with the stroke of a finger I knocked off 10 years of my life by hitting the 7 key instead of the 6!! Got too excited talking about eatin' peas I reckon!! So, I went out a picked a mess and will have'em for supper tonight!! Maybe that'll cure me!


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"I've always had them mixed in with the shelled peas. I personally like a lot of snaps mixed with a mess of peas."

Interesting... I would never had thought of preparing peas & immature pods together. Nor common snap beans cooked with their shellies, for that matter. Generally, when my beans have reached that stage (regardless of species) the plants have set their full pod load, and there are few (if any) immature pods. The few that there are have grown tough.

But since my peas are also in the shell stage, I guess I'll mix in some yardlongs, since there are plenty of them right now.

The forecast in my area is dry & 70's for the rest of the week, so I should get plenty of seed from your "Pink Eye Purple Hull", Jimster. Rather remarkable, given their late start.

Kind of an odd year for peas, though. Very poor pod fill. "MN 157" has performed well for me in the past, and set a large number of pods this year... but only about half of the cells in each pod are filled. "P.E.P.H." did better, but still has a lot of missing cells. Even their cousins the mung beans had poor pod set.

This is the first year that I've seen this problem, I've always had good pod fill with cowpeas. Has anyone else had a similar problem with their peas this year?


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This year has been especially good in terms of vine growth, pod set, pod fill and every other measure of success. The weather has been consistently good for gardening and everything, especially the cowpeas, grew like crazy. The soil is droughty here and requires regular watering. The amount of water which is suffficient for other crops is luxurious for the drought tolerant cowpeas. Some of the PPH pods were huge and were so stuffed with peas that they ended up like crowders. If you look carefully at the photo above of the shelled peas, you will find some with flattened ends.

Today I picked a few more peas and included a good handful of young pods for snaps.

Jim


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I concur with the others down here a meal of fresh peas is mostly peas and a few snaps of the same mixed in. When you pick the row it is picked clean., so there are some that are dry or close to it majority are perfect and there is some that are not filled out still green. regardless of size they are all picked. Dry ones go in one bowl for seed or to use dry they will not be ready when the others are if cooked together, the others are shelled and any that are not filled out are snapped and mixed in. Same goes for Green beans the ones that are tough or at the shelly stage are shelled and mixed in with the snaps. I swear what do they teach y'all in school these days up there. We are talking basics here things learned before grammar school.


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Zeedman, I noticed what you describe on some of the peas I picked this morning. There weren't a lot like that but there were enough to be noticeable. I don't have a clue as to why. They weren't stung, I looked for that. These were Mississippi Silver Hull and it was my second pickin' on the ones I planted late. Had some for supper tonight, peas, fried corn bread, a pod of cayenne pepper and slice of onion. They were good!!
My worst problem this year has been cow pea weevils(curiolio or something like that), they've been terrible. Does anyone have suggestion on how to keep them under some sort of control other than sevin spray?


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Thought maybe, you would like an illustration of peas with snaps. This is a local self seeding cultivar we call "Tommy".
tommy


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"I swear what do they teach y'all in school these days up there."

Nothing about peas. That's for sure.

"We are talking basics here things learned before grammar school."

That's right, Rodger. You're starting to grasp the depth of our ignorance of cowpeas. Sad situation, isn't it?

There are two or three of us that I know of who are attempting to learn. Zeedman for one, me for another and I can't think of any others off hand, but there must be one or two. I'm determined to learn as many Southern cooking "secrets" (as they're thought of around these parts) as possible. I might even have had a slight influence on three or four friends. Slight, mind you. Nothing to get excited about. So, take pity and help us make it to second or third grade of pea education.

Thanks for the pic, farmerdilla. A little A/V always helps the learning process.

Jim


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

Farmerdilla, thanks for the mouth-watering photo. Is that two different varieties of peas, or just different stages of maturity?

"I swear what do they teach y'all in school these days up there."

Well, I used to think that "field peas" were what Green Giant put in cans. ;-)

You know, it's funny. I spent a lot of time in Asia while I was in the Service, and learned to love Asian food & culture. But thanks to my interest in "unusual" vegetables - and conversing with gardeners from other regions - I'm only recently discovering Southern cuisine in my own country. I've still got a ways to go, so just bear with me & keep the advice (and recipes) coming.

For now, when I cook up my test batch of peas & snaps, what's the traditional way to season them? Are they boiled & seasoned, or pan fried with other foods?


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

Zeedman, this is from a post of mine above. Put a thick slice of bacon, some salt and enough water to cover the fresh shelled peas in a pot and boil'em till they are tender(about an hour and carefull not to let the water boil out).
May be other seasonings used elsewhere in the South, but the bacon(fatter the better) was traditionally used for seasoning peas when I was growing up. I cook'em that way still. I had family in southwest Georgia and northwest Florida and they all used a fat piece of bacon or a little bacon grease for seasoning. Same with string beans too. I don't reckon it's health food but they sure are good cooked that way. I hope y'all enjoy them too!!


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

Zeedman; There are a few different kinds mixed in.looks like a couple of Big Boys in there. The small green ones are Tommys. Rarely do I ever cook a pure batch. While I use slab bacon to season dry peas. I use butter or margarine for the green shellies. Same for butterbeans(baby limas)


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

I am growing White Whipporwill, Brown Whipporwill, and Piggott Family Heirloom cowpeas this year. All three make outstanding eating peas. These three varieties will be available from Sandhill next spring. I am shelling about 5 gallons of peas per night which produces between 2 and 3 quarts of dried peas.

I had a single variant red plant among my White Whipporwills this year. I pulled up the plant to avoid contaminating the rest of my seed, but still managed to save about 300 seed. Next year I will grow them out and see if I can stabilize a "Red Whipporwill". The likely source of pollen that produced this variant plant is an old heirloom red pea that I have grown the last several years. It is an obvious cross since the peas have the whipporwill shape and color and the pods and plants have the Franklin Red color and vigor.

I had a real problem with deer eating my peas the last several years. An electric fence is doing a nice job of controlling that problem this season.

DarJones


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

I can vouch for the ozark razorback that Roger mentioned. He gave me my start and it has turned into my favorite eating pea. I thought that I liked the Pink Eye Purplehull until I tried the Ozark's. There is no comparison. I grew out enough to share if someone would like to try them. I expect mine to keep blooming and making till frost. I have already saved myself 3 cups of seed. It was hard trying to let some go to seed as I was trying to fill my deep freeze for winter treats.


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

For those wanting the Ozark crowder pea and can't get some in a trade Southern Exposure seeds will have it in their catolog for 2009. There should be plenty I grew about 25# of seed for them.
Fussion I had an enjoyable day this past Saturday in Kentucky and spent several hours talking with my friend John Coykendal who I believe is the person that recieved the original Piggot Family pea. Rodger


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

Interesting thread with lots of new information to me.
Way up the line, someone asked about "Hoppin John." I don't think that question got answered. Hoppin John is cooked black-eyed peas (or other southern pea) mixed with equal parts cooked rice. Most cooks add some hot sauce and some of the pot likker from the peas.
"Limping Susan" is cooked okra mixed in with cooked rice, also spiced to taste.


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

Where can I get calico and whippoorwill pea seeds for 2011?

My Mom and Dad used to raise and now their kids are wanting to. Thanks for any help


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

"Where can I get calico and whippoorwill pea seeds for 2011?"

Send me an E-mail. I am saving seed of both.

Jim


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

can anyone give me some info on the piggot cowpea or monkey tail pea..growth habit....color...etc.. i am looking for a pea that makes a rich dark brown broth from green shell stage.. after all it is about the taste. also used to pressure can them and i would use them in all the different stages togather with snaps. really good


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RE: An observation about cowpeas

Paula, if you want to try the Dixie Lee pea, it also makes dark broth, try here

Here is a link that might be useful: Clemson edu 2011 seedlist


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