If you’ve been ordering the Local Box this summer, you’ve no doubt been introduced to the wonders of locally grown, fresh field peas. Delicate fresh peas will ruin you on the canned alternative forever, and you sure can’t find them year-round, but our extra-long Texas summers mean we get to enjoy them longer than most. They freeze well, so if you’ve got a stockpile you can enjoy them well into Fall and Winter.
Common varieties of field peas– purple hull, lady cream, crowder, and black-eyed– have long been a staple of Southern cuisine. The hardy plants flourish in the hot sun, and they’re often used as a cover crop since they improve the soil where they grow. Southern peas are also extremely draught tolerant, so farmers can count on them in even the toughest Texas summers.
In the kitchen, field peas are versatile and easy to prepare. They are very delicate, and although they freeze well, they only keep in the refrigerator for a day or two. Freshly cooked southern peas have a nutty, slightly sweet taste with an ultra-creamy texture that is just perfect in stews and soups, or to add texture to salads. Field peas do more than taste good– they’re nutritional powerhouses, with tons of protein, fiber, and folate for heart health.
If you’re looking to think outside the bacon to prepare fresh peas, scoot over to our blog and try using them in homemade veggie burgers, or check out this recipe roundup by Southern Living for 16 more ideas.
If you haven’t jumped on the field pea wagon, they’ll only be around for another week or two, so go ahead– give peas a chance!