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Produce Spolight: Black-Eyed Peas

Submitted by mommyo on Thu, 08/25/2022 - 3:21pm

 I am delighted to announce black-eyed peas are in season! I am absolutely enamored with them (so much so that I wrote a book about them)! There's so much that I would like to share but I will provide the streamlined version.  Black-eyed peas, also referred to as cowpeas, are technically a bean. However, like their name suggests, they share some similarity with peas. The main one being, they are both legumes- which are edible seeds grown inside of a pod (examples include beans, peas, lentils, and edamame). All of these legumes are an excellent source of nutrition and provide plant protein. Black-eyed peas are delicious and hearty, offering valuable nutrients such as potassium, iron, fiber and protein. They can be eaten fresh or dried for later use. 


Yet, black-eyed peas truly stole my heart when I learned of their cultural significance. Indigenous to Africa, they were brought to America via the slave trade. The courageous individuals who would later be stolen from their homeland had the foresight to braid their beloved black-eyed peas  (along with okra and watermelon seeds) into their cornrows as a form of nourishment and as an eternal tie to their home. My ancestors' instinctive resilience and natural aptitude for survival and rebellion is simply awe-inspiring. Today, black-eyed peas are eaten on New Year's Day to promote luck and prosperity.  It's clear black-eyed peas deserve some respect on their name and a place on the table on a more regular basis.