Archive for 2011

Happy New Year!

There’s no better way to kick off the new year, than with a hearty helping of black eyed peas. If you pop your head into any southern kitchen on New Year’s Day, you’re sure to find a pot of warm peas on the stove. Eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is said to bring good luck for the year ahead. Now who could pass up a pot of good luck?
If you’re planning on cooking some this New Year’s Day, here are few tips and tricks demonstrated by my lovely assistant Kameryn, a.k.a littlest sister.
How to Cook Dried Black Eyed Peas

Begin by sorting your peas. You want to remove any peas that are shriveled, discolored, cracked or damaged. Also, look for any small stones or grit.

Sorting peas takes lots of concentration. Kameryn was my #1 pea inspector, only the best peas made the cut.
Here are some of her rejects. See that little black stone, I’m pretty sure that one would have chipped a tooth!

The best peas even formed themselves into the shape of Africa, which was funny at the time, but even more amazing when we later found out Africa happens to be where black eyed peas are thought to have originated. Smart little peas, huh?
Once you’ve sorted your peas, give them a quick soak. This soften the beans and breaks down the bean’s complex sugars into simple sugars. What does that mean… less gas and indigestion. This is also why you should always rinse canned beans. If you don’t rinse your beans, be prepared for a musical fanny.

To soak the peas, begin by filling a medium sized pot with cold water. Add the sorted beans and check for any floaters.

Floater peas are duds and will not cook properly. Remove the floaters and bring the pot of peas to a boil.

Once peas reach a rapid boil, boil for two minutes then remove from heat and let them stand covered for 1 hour.

After the peas have soaked, drain the excess water and rinse the peas several times until the water runs clear.

Once the peas have been thoroughly rinsed, place the peas back in the pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes or until tender. 
Here’s another handy dandy tip:
NO SALT when cooking dried beans. 
I have always salted my water, however I learned this year that adding salt actually has a negative effect on the cooking process. Adding salt will prevent the peas from absorbing water. This is because peas have openings that are large enough for water molecules to enter it, but salt molecules are larger and will plug the pea openings, preventing the water to enter… thus you have TOUGH peas that never seem to cook right. Add any salt or seasoning after the peas have finished cooking. (source)

Photos by: KHJ

There you have it, a pot of good luck for the New Year. And in case a plain pot of peas is not on the top of your New Year’s Must Eat List, I’ve got a yummy alternative using those lucky little peas. Stay tuned!

Posted 1/1/11, Topic: Blog

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