Preparing for the Purple Hulls

It’s almost time to plant our purple hull peas.  They’re one of my favorite things to grow.

There are lots of different varieties of the wonderful summer bean known as Southern peas, cow peas or field peas.  Most common is probably the black-eyed pea, but every region of the South has its favorite.  Here the hands down favorite is the pink-eyed purple hull variety.

Like all their cousins, purple hull peas thrive in our hot, dry summers.  We plant ours around June 15, following the English peas which have typically succumbed to the heat by then.  Yesterday I began tilling and prepping the garden we’ll use for them.  In a few days I’ll start planting them. They produce a great yield of peas (actually technically beans) in long purple pods.  And, of course, they are delicious. Like much of our great Southern food, the peas originated in Africa and were brought over to be food for slaves.  They are part of our traditional New Years Day meal, and on that day you must eat some or you won’t have any good luck during the year.

When I was a boy, during the summer we weren’t allowed to watch TV at night unless we were snapping beans or shelling peas while doing it.  I’ve shelled many a mess of them in my day.

I’m looking forward to some more shelling soon.