Black-eyed peas, also referred to as cowpeas, are a type of legume, which is a vegetable class that also includes beans and lentils. Black-eyed peas provide a low-fat source of protein and make a nice meat substitute. Black-eyed peas are a good source of iron, potassium, folate, magnesium and fiber. Purchasing canned black-eyed peas will help reduce cooking time over the dried version of the legume, but usually have much more added sodium than the frozen version. Because canned black-eyed peas are precooked, options for eating include using them straight from the can in casseroles or salads, or heating them up to eat as a side dish.
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Decide how many cans of black-eyed peas you will need to serve. One 15-ounce can contains approximately four servings.
Inspect the can for any dents or bulges and watch for fluid to squirt from the can when opening it. These indicate a possible bacterium in the can called Clostridium botulinum. The bacteria can cause a serious infection called botulism. Throw away any cans with dents or bulges, or that squirt liquid when opened. Also, toss out the can of black-eyed peas if the food has a bad odor.
Open the can of black-eyed peas and dump them in a colander. Rinse the beans with water. This will help remove excessive amounts of sodium used in the canning process.
Pour the peas into a medium pot and fill with enough water to cover the peas.
Place over medium heat and stir occasionally while the black-eyed peas heat up. Add any additional seasonings you wish as they cook. Some possible samples include bacon, chopped onion, salt and pepper.
Simmer for approximately 15 minutes, until heated through. Serve hot.
Refrigerate any leftover black-eyed peas in a covered glass or plastic container and eat within four days.