I used to see them fresh every year around New Years but I haven't for the past few. I wonder what is up with that.....
I have never grown them before but thought I'd give it a go and I am so impressed! First, we managed to stagger the plantings successfully (for once) and the first row is coming ripe now. I have been watching them with eagle-eyes and as the long pods are starting to go yellow, I decided to pick a large handful this morning and shell them.
I have learned this much about black-eyed peas.
1. You can pick them too soon. Even if the pods are long and thick (like your little finger) they are not quite ready to harvest.
2. Shelled too soon and the eyes are pinkish. You want them black.
3. The yellower the pod, the easier to shell.
At some point in ripeness, the outer skin becomes rather thin. I was able to pull them apart and reveal the peas within in a long row. Cute.
4. Fresh black-eyed peas are a good source of calcium. But nevermind that. They're delish!
More musings: If I leave them on the vine to dry, I can shell them and store for winter but they freeze nicely when fresh. But, what is the point of drying something I can buy fairly cheaply anytime at the grocer? Like a pound of dried peas for >$1.25
Fresh black-eyed peas, on the other hand, sell for $4 a cup! (that's gotta be California prices, right?) But again, I haven't seen FRESH black-eyes for a long time. (So imagine what they would cost.) Til now that is, Now I see LOTS of them.