If you’ve survived the heat and your garden hasn’t shriveled and died (condolences if it didn’t make it, there’s still the farmer’s market!), you should be getting ready to harvest some of your black eyed peas.
According to VeggieHarvest’s page on Pea Growing and Harvest Information, black eyed peas should be picked 60 to 70 days after planting when they are light green with a purplish eye.
What to do once you’ve picked them?
Shell them, of course!
Pull down the string.
Squeeze the pod at the seams
Scrape out the peas and discard the pods.
This goes much faster when you have someone to sit and shell peas with you 🙂
Once you are finished shelling them, here’s an easy recipe to cook up a mess of peas –
Chop one white or yellow onion
Smash two or three cloves of garlic
Fry two or three slices of bacon in a large pot. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent.
Add the shelled peas.
Add water to cover the peas. Add three bay leaves (less if milder taste is desired), salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste.
Cook until peas are tender.
I make a skillet of homemade cornbread to serve with this and put a slice of cornbread in a bowl and then spoon the peas with juice over the cornbread.
Some people call the juice “pot likker”. Whatever you call it, when the cornbread soaks it all up, there isn’t much that tastes better!