These delectable little jewels are Pinkeye Purple Hull Peas. They are categorized as cowpeas just like their cousins, Crowder peas and black-eyed peas. Most often they are simply called purple hull peas.
Actually there is some debate whether they are peas or beans. After a lot of internet surfing it appears that whether the seed, which is the thing we eat, is round or oval/kidney shaped dictates whether it is called a pea or a bean. Peas are round. Beans are oval. (Source: University of Minnesota Extension)
But this same publication from the University of Minnesota Extension says black-eyed peas are round and therefore a pea. The Library of Congress emphatically categorizes a black-eyed pea as a bean. (Source: Library of Congress) Since the Purple Hull Pea is closely related and similarly shaped to the black-eyed pea this leaves our Purple Hull Pea without a true identity.
But what you can’t argue about is just how delicious Purple Hull Peas are. We sell our freshly picked Purple Hull Peas still in their pod. Very often we also have shelled Purple Hull Peas in little clear plastic containers.
Shelled Purple Hull Peas should be refrigerated and should be good for a couple days before you cook them. If you’re not going to cook them right away it might be best to buy them whole and shell them right before you cook them. They can be stored on your counter for 4 to 5 days.
When buying unshelled Purple Hull Peas it’s good to know that as the hull turns purple the peas inside become firmer and easier to get out. The flavor of the peas in the purple hulls is a little more intense than their slightly immature green hulled companions. Both are good to eat, especially when you combine the two.
And speaking of good to eat, here’s a healthy Pinkeye Purple Hull Pea Soup recipe that’s a favorite at the farm. While we still have field tomatoes at the market you can create a tomato based soup that uses our summer tomatoes and our fall purple hull peas.
Pinkeye Purple Hull Soup
- 2 medium tomatoes
- ¼ onion
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- Fresh Pint Pinkeye Purple Hull peas, rinsed
- 3 – 4 slices bacon, cut in 2 – 3 inch pieces
- Cilantro for garnish
- Blend tomatoes, onion and garlic* in food processor.
- Put purple hull peas in a pot, add 3 – 4 cups of water, and bring to boil, turn down to medium heat and continue cooking at a rolling boil for 15 minutes.
- Cook bacon in Dutch oven or soup pot. Remove bacon when crisp and discard bacon grease from pot.
- Add tomato mixture to Dutch oven, cook for 10 minutes and let tomato mixture reduce.
- Add purple hull peas and the liquid they were cooked in to Dutch oven. Crumble bacon into pot, reserving some for garnish.
- Cook soup about 10 minutes to combine flavors.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and a few pieces of crumbled bacon.
*If you are not a fan of garlic, you can sauté the garlic in ½ Tbsp. of the bacon grease for a milder garlic flavor.