Fish Eye Black Eye Pea

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Vigna unguiculata   Seeds per pack ~ 60  Germination: 91% (Feb. 2022)

A key ingredient in Hoppin’ John (peas, rice and pork) and part of African-American “soul food” cuisine, called a pea, but it is actually a bean. Both peas and beans are legumes, and both have edible seeds and pods. Brought to the West Indies by enslaved West Africans, by earliest records in 1674, black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata) are a variety of the cowpea (also called a field pea) and are part of the family of beans & peas.

Cultivated since pre-historic times in China and India, they are related to the mung bean. Originally used as food for livestock, they became a staple of the diet of enslaved Africans in the Americas.  During the Civil War, black-eyed peas (field peas) and corn were thus ignored by Sherman’s troops. Left behind in the fields, they became important food for the Confederate South.  In the American South, eating black-eyed peas and greens (such as collards) on New Year’s Day is considered good luck: the peas symbolize coins and the greens symbolize paper money.