For many southerners eating black-eyed peas on January 1st is a must to ensure prosperity in the New Year. This little bean, yes it is technically a bean not a pea, was first cultivated in West Africa, but is now grown in many countries. It was first introduced into the Southern United States in the 17th century in Virginia. Some say the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on new year’s day, dates back to the Civil War, and others say it goes as far back as 1500 years ago.
Not being from the south myself I had to do a little research on the matter. I started with my friends all of which were born and raised in Texas! They all agreed that eating black eyed peas on new years day is definitely the thing to do for prosperity. The black eyed peas are stewed with a ham hock and cooked to perfection. The dish is served with southern accompaniments such as; Collard greens, Baked apples and corn bread. Sounds delicious, but my research was not over, I have noticed a few different ways to honor this tradition. Some people put a brand new clean dime or penny in the pot of beans and serve it, whomever finds the coin will have the most luck! Some say you should eat exactly 365 peas on New Year's day. If you eat any less, you'll only be lucky for that many days. If you eat any more than 365 peas, it turns those extra days into bad luck. Yikes better get to counting!
However you chose to honor this tradition one thing remains the same, Defiantly eat black eyed peas on new years day for a prospers year! I had the pleasure to try this dish last year and I will say I am looking forward to eating it again this year!
New Year Black Eye Peas Recipe
1 lb Black Eyed Peas
2 Cups Chopped cooked Ham
2 ea Onions, Diced
1 ea Can whole tomatoes (14.5oz)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch of garlic powder
Place black-eyed peas in 8 quart pot. Add enough water to fill pot 3/4 full.
Stir in ham and diced onions, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Place tomatoes in a blender or food processor, and blend until the tomatoes are liquefied.
Add tomatoes to pot. Bring all ingredients to boil.
Cover the pot, and simmer on low heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the peas are tender