Nutrition Facts: Field peas as legumes are a great source of protein, up to 5g per half cup serving! They are also a good source of dietary fiber, high in trace minerals, and low in calories. Like all beans, they are not a complete protein and are best when served up with a grain like rice or corn ala cornbread!
Storage tips: Field peas, removed from the shell, will remain good in the fridge for up to a week. Field peas freeze well and can be stored in plastic zipper bags for winter.
Preparation tips: Field Peas are more akin to dried beans than the fresh peas of spring, and are cooked accordingly. Place peas in a thick bottomed pot, covered with two inches of water or stock, and simmered for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the variety and size of the pea and desired level of tenderness. Add onion and bacon or ham hock to the pot prior to cooking to impart some flavor to the beans. Traditional southerns often toss in 4-5 pods of whole okra to thicken the beans and balance the earthiness of the beans. Field peas can also used in place of many common beans in recipes like chili, stews, and even refried beans.
· 4 cups fresh shelled field peas, any variety
· 2 1/2 cups water (you can substitute chicken stock or pork stock)
· One small slice (about 1 1/2 ounces) of salt pork or other cured, smoked or not, piece of fatty pork such as bacon
· OR you can substitute 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon salt
· OR a teaspoon of bacon grease
· OR you can use a few small pieces of heavily salted fresh pork belly or fatback that you rendered slowly in a pan until well browned
· 4-5 small whole okra pods
· Salt and pepper to taste
· Carefully wash and pick over the peas. Discard any damaged peas and trash.
· Put the peas in a pot and cover with water or stock. Bring to a boil over med-high heat. At this point the peas will throw off a lot of foam, which needs to be skimmed off. When the foaming stops, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
· Then place a handful of small okra pods on top of the peas, cover the pot, and simmer another 10-15 minutes until the peas are sufficiently tender — more than al dente, less than mushy.
· Taste carefully for seasoning. The amount of salt you will need to add will depend on how salty your seasoning meat or cooking stock is.
· Serve hot with cornbread, fresh sliced tomatoes with homemade mayonnaise, and a few slices of sweet onion.
*Recipe from: http://grist.org/article/peas-and-harmony/