Southern Pea (Cowpea)

Southern Pea (Cowpea)


The Southern Pea is most commonly referred to as a cowpea.  Although there are at least 11 recognized classifications of the Southern Pea, the most common are the field pea, crowder, black-eye, purple hull, and the cream pea.  These peas are rich in flavor, nutrients, and history. Coming in at 24.8% protein, 6.3% fiber, and only 1.9% fat, Southern Peas are a wonderful addition to any diet.

The Most Well Known Varities

  • Field peas have hardy vines and have smaller seeds than some of the other varieties.  These are very tasteful and produce a dark “gravy” when cooked.
  • Crowder peas are distinctive in the fact that they are “crowded” into the shell.  This crowding causes the ends to be blunted.  The seeds have a higher starch content than other varieties of the southern pea and also produce a dark liquid when cooked.
  • Cream peas are smaller, bushier plants with light colored seeds.  Cream peas cook up light with a gravy that is light and clear.
  • Purple hull peas have a purple coloring on their pods.  Many times they are placed into another group of southern peas.  They cook up with a rich, dark gravy and have a pleasing taste.  These peas have become so popular that there is a festival in Emersen Arkansas in honor of the purple hull pea.  This festival is held the last weekend in June and is dedicated to the “one major delicacy grown in every local backyard garden” in the small community.


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