“What’s with the blackeyed pea?”

I received this ultra-random, but interestingly-led and well-timed press release from Freida’s, a specialty produce shop out of southern California.

What’s with the Blackeyed Pea? Why does this little black-and-white legume garner so much attention during the New Year? Frieda’s Specialty Produce distributes thousands of Blackeyed Peas to produce departments around the country each year, including Schnucks and Logli, in preparation for New Year’s feasts featuring Hoppin’ John and other traditional comfort foods.

Grown all over the world, Blackeyed Peas (BEPs for short) have a special place in Southern U.S. cuisine, where they are believed to bring good luck and traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day. It is believed that the Blackeyed Peas’ reputation for luck may originate from the U.S. Civil War. Some say that when most of the food sources were destroyed and pillaged in the war-ravaged South, Blackeyed Peas provided sustenance, thereby earning their “good luck” status.

Whether cooking up a soulful pot of Hoppin’ John with Blackeyed Peas, bacon and collard greens, or whipping up a batch of Texas Caviar with BEPs marinated in dressing, Frieda’s high-quality, U.S.A.-grown Blackeyed Peas are the key ingredient for a prosperous New Year’s feast.

Unlike other dried beans, Blackeyed Peas don’t require pre-soaking overnight and are relatively quick to cook. (A quick-soak method can be completed within 1 hour.) And of course, no other legume can deliver the earthy, creamy, savory and satisfying taste that BEPs have to offer. Not to mention their nutritious assets – Blackeyed Peas are an excellent source of calcium, folate, vitamin A, fiber and protein.

Try Frieda’s version of Hoppin’ John with a spicy kick from Habanero peppers:

Frieda’s Hoppin’ John

1 6.5-oz. package Frieda’s Dried Blackeyed Peas, prepared according to package directions

11/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice

41/2 cups water

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, minced, or 1 tsp. dried thyme

1 bay leaf

6 strips bacon

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup red or green bell pepper, chopped

½ cup celery, minced

¼ cup parsley, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Frieda’s Fresh Habanero Chile, seeded and finely minced (or Dried Habanero, reconstituted according to package directions)

Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven, place rice with pre-soaked Blackeyed Peas and water. Stir in thyme and bay leaf. Cover and bring mixture to boil. Uncover and reduce heat; simmer 15 to 18 minutes or until rice and beans are tender, checking to make sure mixture does not boil dry.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper toweling reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, parsley, garlic and chile to drippings in pan. Sauté about 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Crumble bacon; add to skillet. Remove from heat.

When rice and beans are done, drain off any excess liquid. Remove bay leaf. Stir bacon mixture into rice and beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Look for Frieda’s Dried Blackeyed Peas in your local grocery store or online at www.friedas.com

Founded in 1962 by Frieda Caplan, Frieda’s, Inc. was the first wholesale produce company in the U.S. to be founded, owned and operated by a woman. Once a small produce stand at the Los Angeles Produce Market, Frieda’s has emerged as the nation’s premier marketer and distributor of specialty produce and now offers more than 600 specialty items to grocery and specialty stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. Learn more at www.friedas.com

Note to editors: High-resolution images and samples available upon request.

# # #

Contact: Hazel Kelly

Public Relations Specialist

714-826-6100 ext. 158


Frieda’s, Inc.

4465 Corporate Center Drive

Los Alamitos, CA 90720-2561  U.S.A.




Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

2 thoughts

  1. Can’t argue with them. We tend to use our own cowpeas, which are related and have a similar effect. True BEP have a distinctive flavor, though.

    I like to use allspice in my Hoppin’ John; I find the taste goes really well with BEP or cowpeas. And I use mustard greens in addition to collards.

  2. That looks like a nice recipe for hoppin’ john even if it is a little fancy for me. I’ll stop at bacon or ham hock and collard or mustard greens, whatever’s closer to hand. Salt. Rice. Good luck guaranteed when eaten on New years’ Day, or so it’s said– I’ve never been brave enough to start a new year without black-eyed peas.

    For those who travel southward, there are still a number of outposts of the Black-Eyed Pea chain in Texas and such, and they do a creditable version of their namesake– IMO, the thing to order there is a veggie plate anyway. Same goes for Hoover’s or Threadgill’s in Austin.

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