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Southern-Style Cooking with Zipper Peas

Cooking Zipper Peas

Frozen zipper peas are a great choice for any Southern dinner. They can be cooked just as easily as fresh ones!

Known as field peas or cowpeas, they flourish in Southern summers when the climate is ideal for their growth. You may have seen them at farmers markets or family gardens.

Cooking Tips

Zipper peas are a type of field pea (Vigna unguiculate), and they’re members of the cowpea family along with black eyed peas, although they are milder than black eyed peas. Like other cowpeas, they’re an excellent source of protein.

Cooking zipper peas is easy if you follow a simple recipe. The trick to preparing them properly is to boil them with enough water so they’re covered by about an inch. This will allow them to simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes until they’re tender. During this time, skim off any foam that may form with a spoon.

Aside from the boiling method, you can also roast frozen zipper peas in the oven for a quick and delicious side dish. Toss them with a bit of olive oil and salt on a baking sheet before placing in the preheated oven. After 15-20 minutes, you can serve these tasty legumes with your favorite meat and three for a Southern-style meal.

Preparation

Zipper peas are a member of the family Vigna unguiculata, also known as field peas or cowpeas. They are similar to black-eyed peas, crowder peas and white acre peas, but are easier to shell and have a delicate earthy flavor. Unlike more delicate English peas, these quick-cooking beans do not require a presoak before cooking.

They can be prepared in several different ways, including adding them to soups and stews or serving them as a side dish. They are also often cooked in traditional Southern dishes such as succotash and hoppin’ John.

To cook zipper peas, add them to a pot and boil with kosher salt, black pepper and three cups of water. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for one hour or until the peas are tender. Season with butter, onion and garlic, if desired. You can also boil them with collard greens and ham or pork jowl for a hearty, healthy meal.

Cooking Methods

Zipper peas can be cooked Southern-style and are often served in a hearty meal alongside other vegetables like collard greens, cornbread, or okra. They can also be eaten on their own as a side dish or topped with butter for a satisfying snack. They are a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins.

A popular recipe for zipper peas involves ham hock, onion, salt, pepper, and chicken broth or water as the cooking liquid. The peas are then cooked until tender, and some people add bacon or a pork jowl to give the beans a smoky flavor.

The resulting beans are usually seasoned with a combination of salt and pepper, which can then be spooned over a bed of rice or other starch. The peas can be reheated to make them extra delicious, but it is important not to overcook them as this can lead to the peas becoming mushy. The same technique can be used for black-eyed peas, field peas, pink lady peas, and purple hull peas (also known as cowpeas). They are available fresh at local farmers markets and in the freezer section of many grocery stores.

Serving

Zipper peas are a great addition to any meal. They are easy to prepare and a delicious source of protein, iron and fiber. They can be enjoyed with a variety of side dishes such as fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread and hush puppies.

Cooking Southern-style means adding a fat that releases flavor to the peas, such as bacon drippings, ham hock or a salt pork chop. These items can be cooked with the peas in the pot or added at the end.

Add seasonings like salt, pepper and butter to enhance the flavor of these versatile vegetables. Herbs, onions or garlic can also be used to flavor the peas. To make this dish more flavorful, try adding thyme, rosemary or basil. Each serving of fresh frozen zipper peas provides eight grams of protein, less than one gram of fat and 120 calories. *Refer to the product label for full dietary information. The nutrient content listed is based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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