Snow peas, southern peas, field peas or black-eyed peas; whatever name these go by, good luck is sure to follow whoever eats some after the start of the new year.
Almost all cultures throughout the world follow acquired rituals to ring in the new year, and Americans developed the tradition of eating black-eyed peas to ensure good fortune for the upcoming year. Originally celebrated in the southern states, this custom of eating these vegetables as a harbinger of fortune has spread throughout the country, and many families complement the tasty peas with collard greens or enjoy “Hoppin’ John,” a combination of black-eyed peas and rice with seasonings.
Black-eye peas freeze well for preserving at home. The University of Georgia Extension offers these simple instructions. “Select pods when seeds are tender and well-filled. Wash pods. Shell and discard over-mature and immature seeds and those injured by insects. Wash shelled peas. Water blanch 2 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and freeze.” Easy peasy.
One New Year’s resolution for 2012 will probably be to try to eat a diet that is low in fat. The following recipe, from the Ohio State University Extension, starts off the new year just right. Although vegans will want to substitute for the egg, everyone benefits from the whole grain rice and other low-fat ingredients. A superior non-stick pan eliminates the need for the nonstick spray, if needed.
Hoppin’ John Cakes
1 (15 ounces can) black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained and mashed
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet peppers
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Clean your work surface and hands before beginning.
Mix together the brown rice and mashed black-eyed peas. Add remaining ingredients and mix until holds together well. Form into six patties.
Heat non-stick skillet on medium heat, add nonstick spray. Slide bean cakes on to the skillet and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, carefully flip and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with salsa.
For questions about safe home food preservation, or to schedule a speaker for organizations or clubs on the topics of food safety or food preservation call the Master Food Preservers at 530-621-5506.
For more information be sure to go to the Master Food Preserver Website at cecentralsierra.ucanr.org/Master_Food_Preservers/. Sign up to receive the new Master Food Preservers E-Newsletter at ucanr.org/mfpenews/.