I like to try new things, both techniques and plants. One of my favorite seed companies is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and it brightens my winter to look through their catalog and dream of my Spring garden. While reading the descriptions of plants from all over the world I’m amazed by the boundless variety of plants from which they’ve collected seeds. Every year I pick some new things to try, but at the same time I’m trying to hone in on some favorites that I can plant and depend on every year. Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas are now on that list.
We live on the top of a rocky hill so I garden in raised beds using the “Lasagna Gardening” method. Basically, it’s layering different types of mulches such as leaves, newspapers, compost, and kitchen scraps. I also garden organically, trying to learn and use natural methods to avoid chemical pesticides and fertilizers. I live in southwest Missouri, Zone 6B.
I love this variety of cowpeas because when they ripen they turn a pretty purple, which makes it really easy to know when they’re ready to be picked. The hulls are edible, too. If you pick immature pods, you can break them into pieces, called “snaps,” and cook them with the cowpeas. One year I saved and dried the purple hulls and used them to make herbal teas just for fun. I can’t say I could really taste them since I combined them with other herbs, but they lent a pretty pink tint to my tea. It was just another experiment. I’ve had good luck with them for many years and haven’t had a problem with pests or diseases.
If you don’t already have a Baker Creek catalog, do yourself a flavor and request a catalog. You’ll be amazed and your horticultural horizons broadened! Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas are a warm-weather crop, so plan ahead for next summer.
Preparing Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas
I usually preserve my peas by packing them in quart-sized zip-locs, which weigh about 24 oz. If you don’t grow your own, you could use store-bought, and of course, any type of cowpea will work fine.
I start by chopping a slice or two of bacon, and put it in a pot over medium to start browning.
Then I use my nifty Vidalia Chop Wizard to quickly chop an onion and throw it in the pot, too. Although I have a food processor, this gadget is quicker to use and clean up when I have a small job. (And it’s fun.)
When the bacon has started to brown and the onion is translucent, I put in about two cups of water and a teaspoonful of Better Than Bouillon. If I have homemade or canned chicken broth I sometimes use that instead. You could even use plain water, I just think the chicken broth adds depth of flavor.
I then add the frozen cowpeas. Bring them to a boil, then lower the heat back to a simmer. When they’ve cooked awhile I add salt and pepper to taste. After about 30-45 minutes they’ll be ready to eat. Enjoy!
This is my first time hearing about these “peas”. I would love to know what they taste similar to? A Pea? Lima bean? Green bean? Curiosity has got me. 🙂
I don’t think they taste much different than black-eyed peas, or other varieties. I’d have to do a side-by-side taste test, though. I like their purple hulls because it’s easy to tell when to pick them, and they aren’t as well camouflaged, so it’s easier to find them.
I just might have to add these to next Spring’s wish list! Thanks for reviewing them for me!
Here from Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop!
If you do, let me know how you like them! I think you will.
I haven’t tried growing these before! Looks really good! Plus, purple! My kids love to grow anything purple.
They would be fun for kids to grow. They sprout pretty quickly. They’re also fun to shell, and eat, of course!
My husband and kids love these. I’m not a pea kind of girl, but I guess I should add some to the garden. These are pretty too!
You might like them. They’re one of my favorites.
We love these cowpeas. But I have not cooked them green. I let them dry really dry on the plant. Pick when they rattle in the shell. Then I shell them and package with the vacuum sealer. I have had them last up to two years this way. They cook up much faster than other dried beans!
And I need to try them your way! I love cow peas. There are never enough of them!