Black-eyed peas are an ancient African
crop that spread from central Africa. Around 1700, slaves brought it to America.
By 1903 George Washington Carver, the famous African-American agricultural
chemist, was promoting black-eyed peas as excellent food for man or beast and as
a plant that enriched farm soil with nitrogen.
Black-eyed peas are grown primarily as animal food and a cover crop to improve
soil fertility. For Southerners, however, the new year starts with a bowl of
black-eyed peas for good luck.
Overnight Black-Eyed Pea Salad
2 (15 oz.) cans black-eyed peas with snaps, drained
1/2 C. red onions, diced or thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/2 C. chopped green pepper
1/2 clove garlic
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. vinegar
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1/2 t. salt
dash hot sauce
Rinse and drain the peas. Combine peas, onion and green pepper in a medium bowl.
Stick a wooden pick through the garlic and add to vegetables.
Combine sugar, vinegar, vegetable oil, salt, pepper and hot sauce, stirring
well. Add to vegetable mixture and toss lightly to coat. Cover and refrigerate
at least 12 hours. Remove the wooden pick with the garlic before serving.
Serves 6 to 8.