It's black-eyed pea season! When you hear the name of this legume, you might think of its strong presence in soul food, or perhaps the musical group headed by Fergie. The love of black-eyed peas, however, knows no cultural bounds. A wide array of cultural dishes—from Portuguese salads to Vietnamese desserts to Indian daals—love these black-spotted beans.
Black-eyed peas are thought to be lucky in Chinese and Jewish culture, as well as the American South. For Southerners, eating Hoppin' John, a rice and black-eyed peas dish, on New Years' Day is believed to bring prosperity and luck. Adding in some green-hued veggies (the color of money) is thought to up the wealth ante.
High in Vitamin A and folate, black-eyed peas make a great supper dish. If you opt for dried over canned, beans must be soaked before cooking. Store uncooked beans in a cool, dry place to avoid mildew.