Cooking Black-eyed peasSoaking black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas, the name rolls off the tongue, like blackstrap molasses, a joy to utter and eat. I am talking the divine morsels of soluble fibre, B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium and many other beneficial nutrients, —not the pop band of the same name, (which I also like.)

In my cupboard they are usually found beside the lentils, as neither require long soak times making them a good option when time and convenience is a factor in meal preparation. I prefer using dried beans over canned whenever possible. However, I do keep a selection of canned beans for those times when, everything being relative, a tin of beans constitutes a healthier choice.

  • Most supermarkets will carry a wider variety of dried beans than canned.
  • Dried beans are free from unwanted additives,
  • plus they are so much more economical than canned beans.

Black-eyed peas do not need long soak times. or they will turn to mush, usually within 30 minutes of cooking  when soaked for longer than 4 hours. I usually soak them for about 2 hours, rinse and add to the pot or pan. Alternatively, you could soak them for 30 minutes in hot water,  then strain and rinse before adding to your recipe. Soaking shortens the cooking time, so, you will want to adjust your recipe accordingly.

Advantages of soaking include:

Essentially legumes and pulses are seeds and as such will have a coating of phytic acid to protect the seed from being eaten before it is time to germinate. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that inhibits the absorption of minerals. Soaking also reduces starch and cooking time. Generally I find generous soak times and slow cooking makes them easier to digest with fewer sound effects.

2–8 hour Soak

Rinse the black-eyed peas in a colander then transfer to a bowl or other container and add enough water to cover by a couple of inches above the beans. Cover and leave to soak in the refrigerator for 2 to 8 hours.

Quick Soak

Rinse the black-eyed peas, place in a pot and cover with hot water. Bring to a rapid boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 60-90 minutes. Strain off the water and add your beans as your recipe calls for.

To Cook Black-eyed Peas

  • Use 3 cups of water to 1 cup of beans.
  1. Add the beans, water and salt to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer until beans are cooked.
  3. Drain and use as desired.
  • Back-eyed peas add visual interest to salads and veggie bowls.
  • Purèe with olive oil, garlic, peppers, herbs, spices and whatever else you fancy for a tasty dip.
  • Add to paellas, burrito fillings, or cook in soups etc.

Black-eyed peas are rich in B Vitamins, plus Vitamin A and zinc for healthy eyes. They are high in potassium, iron and manganese and vegetable protein, and soluble fibre that feeds the friendly bacteria in the large intestine.

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