Plenty On Peas: A Bit On Field / Southern Peas

Given m recent travels, I’m in an ideal position to drift away from my usual habit of posting restaurant reviews.  A recent trip to Osage Farms in Rabun Gap, GA helped me create this post.  So for those of you looking for some more information on all things pea, here ya go!

As a general rule of thumb, shelled peas should be kept in a fridge and used within 2-3 days.  For the best flavor, peas hiding out in armor should be used as soon as possible.  When freezing fresh peas, you should first wash and clean them.  The penultimate step is to bleach blanch them before placing them in the freezer.  Also, salt your peas just prior to serving and not sooner.  If you add salt in early on in the cooking process, you are likely to have some pretty hard bites ahead of you.  Here’s some background on a few varietals of these little green pellets.

Crowder Peas
Crowder peas are also called Purple Hull Peas or Conch Peas.  They are earthy in taste and should be shelled.  The “liquor” from your Crowder peas will be dark as will the peas.  Some people like to break a few of the tender pods in with the shelled peas.

Zipper Peas
Zipper peas get their name due to the ease with which they are shelled.  The liquor and peas will be light.  These also have a flavor similar to that of Crowders; however, the flavor of the Zipper pea is a bit more subdued.

Lady Peas
Lady peas are very small and have a “delicate” flavor.  These are one of the better peas to cream.  As suggested preparation is to simmer the peas (having washed and cleaned them), add in some butter and/or bacon.  Salt juts before serving and have at it.

Butter Peas
Butter peas are a lot like their friendly “neighbor,” the Butter bean.  Butter peas are generally fuller and more round than their counterparts.  As you might expect, they will be sweet in flavor.  It never hurts to season them with some butter and when eating them, you should find them tender with a hint of firmness.

Pink-Eyed & Black-Eyed Peas
As these two peas are particularly similar, I thought it was appropriate to consolidate the description into one section.  The Pink-Eyed varietal are milder and lighter in color.  Meanwhile, the Black-Eyed peas drift toward an “earthier” flavor.  The suckers are often called Cow peas.

Anyway, there you have it – thanks much to Osage Farms – more on that trip when I have the time.

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