Let’s start with two general comments, shall we? One, life is unpredictable. Two, beans are always a good idea. So, although I’m not superstitious, I feel like the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for good luck in the new year can’t hurt. As if you needed another excuse to dig into a bowl of delicious black-eyed peas, right? But shoot, if it could also bring luck and prosperity in the new year, why not?! I say! If all else fails, all those black-eyed peas will still be making our gut microbes happy. And who doesn’t want a happy gut?
So, in the spirit of the new year, here are…
5 Things to Know About Black-Eyed Peas
- Black-eyed peas are often eaten on New Year’s Day as a “lucky food.” Some people enjoy them with greens (e.g., collard greens, mustard greens) and say that the black-eyed peas represent coins and the greens signify paper money. I was reading this fun article by The Spruce Eats that said, “For the best chance of luck every day in the year ahead, one must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.” So, get counting my friends. Beans and arithmetic – it doesn’t get much better!!
- Black-eyed peas are known for their drought and heat tolerance. That makes them a very promising crop, both now and into the future. More to come on this in a future post.
- Black-eyed peas are packed with protein and fiber. This probably does not come as a surprise, but I couldn’t resist sharing it because – after all – I am a Food Science and Human Nutrition PhD student. Yes, the reality may be that flavor gets people more excited than nutrition. But you haven’t seen how animated I can get about the fiber in beans and other pulses (like black-eyed peas). Most people dramatically under-consume fiber, and foods like pulses are one of the best ways to increase your fiber intake and reap all the benefits. Plus, don’t worry – they are also delicious.
- Black-eyed peas are a type of cowpea. Cowpeas are not technically a bean *gasp* but rather a type of pulse. What are pulses, you ask? Funny you should “ask” (I know, a smooth set-up, right?). I study pulses for my PhD, but basically they are a type of legume that is very high in fiber and protein and low in fat, setting them apart from legumes like peanuts. Beans are a type of pulse. So are cowpeas and lentils. Want to know more? Check out this video.
- Cooking black-eyed peas is a blast. Yes, that is a fact. Here is a photo showing just how much my mom was enjoying it. Plus a photo of boiling them, for good measure. AND, a video of talking about black-eyed peas on the news, here.
Ready to enjoy some black-eyed peas? In honor of New Year’s Day, I recently made Herby Bean Toast using only black-eyed peas, as opposed to my normal mix of a couple types of beans. I would highly recommend it! Especially if you make sure to eat 365 black-eyed peas in the process. 😉
Good luck in the new year, everyone! May all your legume-y dreams come true.