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Growing Cowpeas, also Black eye peas, Southern peas

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15 Oct 18 Kathy J. (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Cowpeas are a staple here in the south. The town of Emerson, Arkansas has an annual purplehull pea festival & has a website with information on purplehull peas & many recipes you can try. www.purplehull.com There is even one for jelly using the hulls (spoiler alert: tastes like a mild grape). Purplehulls are a cowpea. What we have always been told was that cow peas weren't considered edible by most people. They came on the boats with slaves & that's who first were eating them. They were also given to livestock. An elderly neighbor told me never plant purplehulls until you hear the whipperwill. For us (Arkansas/Louisiana line, zone 8) that's usually mid-April. They will keep producing as long as you keep picking them. My elderly grandfather said instead of parboiling to can or freeze, just shell the peas & stick them (unwashed) in an old (but clean) pillowcase. As you want to cook them, get what you want out, wash & prepare/cook like normal. Tastes like fresh picked no matter how long its been.
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