Saturday, November 19, 2011


Here is the finished illustration of Cowpeas, aka Southern Peas:

As you can see, they come in all sorts of colors. The variety I'm used to is Mississippi Silver, not too fancy to look at, but tasty. That's what we grew at Twin Oaks while I was there, (and they probably still do). Cowpeas did especially well in the greenhouse in the summer. It took us a while to figure out when they were ready to harvest. For some time we were harvesting them when the pods started to feel thinner, but were still green, but that led to really long pea shelling hours. They just didn't want to pop open. Eventually we realized they were much easier to deal with when the pods were brown and papery and the beans were dry.
I guess it might be because I am from the north, but I had never had a cowpea until I lived at Twin Oaks. In fact if you'd asked me i wouldn't have been able to tell you what a black eyed pea even looked like, regardless of the descriptive name. I wonder how many other northerners are missing out on this yummy food. Well, if you are a gardener and don't want to be missing out, the SESE catalog tells me that the Queen Anne variety can grow well in most northern states.
And fun fact about the cowpea... it originated on the African continent and was cultivated there around 5 to 6 thousand years ago.

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