Mind Your Peas and Q's

By Jill Melton | Last Updated August 03, 2015
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I never knew what a field pea was until I moved to the South.

Even then, it took me a while to get to know the "pea" family—which is quite extended. There are lady peas, pink-eyed peas, purple hull, creamer peas, black-eyed peas...

In some parts of the country, you can see field peas being shelled at your local farmers’ market. In Birmingham, Ala., I loved watching the "mean green pea machine" spit out the hulls in one pile and the delicate peas in another. Here in Tennessee you’ll find shelled peas in large and small bags at the farmers’ markets and produce stands.


The key to cooking field peas is to not overcook them. In fact, a 10-minute bath in boiling water and then a quick saute with seasonings make these vegetables a real epiphany. The easy thing is that they all can be used interchangeably. If you don't have field peas, use lima beans in this recipe, which is perfect with roast chicken, corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes.

Lady Pea Salad with Pesto

We love to try interesting pastas. Here we used Fergola Sarda from Lazzaroli’s Pasta shop in Germantown. However you can use any small pasta, even Israeli couscous. Serve this alongside grilled or...

Black-eye Pea Soup with Ham

In the South it is a long held belief that cooking and eating Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day will bring you good luck and prosperity all year. Here is one of our favorite ways to eat them from...

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