ENGLISH PEAS FOR
By Norris Chambers
By Norris Chambers
That was all it took to brand
were in basic training on
Black eyed peas are more popular than English peas. It is said that if you eat black eyed peas on New Yearís Eve you will have good luck for the coming new year. I reckon that may be true since we always have black eyed peas on New Yearís Eve and I have been pretty lucky all of my life.
There are those who say that black eyed peas are really beans and others who say they are only peas. Research has shown that both arguments are correct. In some areas they are called beans and in others they are known as peas. They taste the same by either name.
When we were growing up in the country we canned many cans of all types of peas and beans as well as corn, tomatoes, beets and other vegetables. Beans and peas probably required more kid labor than most of the others. First, the pods had to be picked off the plant and then had to be shelled or snapped, depending on the size and development of the pod.
many tow sacks containing peas or beans were brought to our porch for
the shelling process. The porch was well shaded and cool on a hot day.
Time and rain had begun to damage the floor. There were cracks in places
where two lazy kids could drop unshelled pods through the cracks in the
floor and into the darkness underneath.
But crime doesnít always pay. One year my dad decided to replace the porch floor. When they removed the old boards there were large stacks of unshelled beans and peas on the ground. There was considerable speculation among the adults as to how they got there. What kind of animal would bring in unshelled pods and pile them there on the ground. The truth began to emerge when someone suggested that they might have fallen through the cracks in the floor when we were canning a few weeks before.
that thought it wasnít long until someone doubted that so many could
have accidently fallen through the holes. My mother asked me if we did
it. I stammered a little and suggested that maybe some of the younger
kids did it. One of the younger ones happened to be present and he said
that it was mostly the older ones who did it to get through quicker. He
Actually, I like dried beans and peas much more than the canned green ones. The dried beans are harvested by pulling or plowing up the plants after they have died and dried completely. Then the whole stalks are placed on a wagon sheet and beat with sticks. This breaks open the pods and the beans sink to the bottom of the chaff. The beaten up particles are then placed in a bucket and poured from a height back on the sheet. The wind blows out the lighter rubbish and the beans or peas fall to the sheet. This process is continued until the trash has blown out and left only the beans. They will then keep indefinitely without canning and can be cooked any time. There is no better food than red beans and cornbread!
have fun with peas and beans? We didnít think so then, but looking
back I think we really did! At least