Last year Nancy grew black-eyed peas and was raving about how good they were. (She may have grown them the year before, but I’m not sure. I wasn’t here then) Now I like different beans but other than green beans I’ve never had them fresh. Boy was I missing out!
They’re wonderful! It’s interesting to grow them, as you have to be very careful about the wasps and yellow jackets and other unsavory stinging bugs because there’s a sweet nectar they like where the stem and bean meet. You also have to wait longer for them, because you don’t want the pod like with green beans. You have to wait for them to mature fully, then pick them before they dry.
This morning there were a handful of pods of them waiting for me that the black-eyed pea fairy had left for me, so that meant good stuff to go in my lunch today. And it meant a little lesson from Nancy on how to easily get into the pods without driving myself nuts.
First things first, find the end of the pod that wasn’t attached to the step. With it curled up slightly, snap it down, and pull it along the natural seam of the bean pod. If you’re lucky the string will go the whole way down, but that was rare for me and it didn’t make that big a difference if it doesn’t. You just need to get it started.
From there it’s pretty easy. Just split the pod down the “zipper” you’ve made by pulling that string, and shell out the black-eyed peas.
Nancy has told me that they, like a few other beans (pintos also being one) have some type of toxin that needs to be boiled out of them. 20 minutes of high heat takes care of that and cooks them plenty. I never cared one way or the other about these humble little beans, and now I’m sure they’re going to be a staple of my summer diet. A little onion and bacon with them….yum! Or today, I added a couple diced romas, half a zucchini, a few of the purple beans, half a chicken thigh and a jalapeno to make a yummy (and healthy) veggie medley for lunch.
Now, with me loving these things, it’s a good thing that they grow big here. I still wonder if we’ll need to grow more of them next year though. That’s something Nancy and I will go over as the winter sets in. Garden planning will give us something to look forward to as we suffer through the cold season while the earth rests and prepares for the spring.