Southern New Year Tradition

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Black-eyed Peas

This is how the South starts the New Year, black-eyed peas for good luck.  This dish is good for you and easy on the wallet.

David Proctor


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Southern Good Luck

by Laurie Calloway

 January 6, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

With the cold winter months ahead, many turn to “comfort food” recipes…hearty fare such as stews, chicken and dumplings, and biscuits and gravy. Often overlooked, however, is the humble bag of dried beans that can be found in any grocery store. 

For just around a dollar, beans such as kidney, great white, black, and black-eyed peas, (or a mixture of several varieties) can be turned into a healthy meal, full of fiber and some protein. An added benefit is, unlike canned beans, the amount of sodium can be controlled or greatly reduced when using dried beans.

Beans can help you reach that “five a day” guideline of total servings of vegetables and fruit. There are many other perks as well.  According to WebMD, a serving (1/3 cup of cooked beans) contains around 80 calories, no cholesterol, lots of complex carbohydrates, and little fat. In addition, beans are a good source of B vitamins, potassium, and fiber. Eating beans may help prevent colon cancer, and reduce blood cholesterol (a leading cause of heart disease).

There are so many options for preparing the beans. They can be totally vegetarian, or meat can be added. Using different combinations of spices, and/or cooking the beans in vegetable or chicken broth adds additional flavor.  You can also save the ham bone leftover from a recent meal to flavor your broth.

When preparing dried beans, it is important to remember to “pick them over” for any small pebbles or foreign matter, then rinse them well.  They then should be covered with a couple of inches of fresh water, and allowed to soak overnight. The next day, drain and rinse them again, and they will be ready to cook.  Many of the dried beans have recipes on the bag, and some include flavor packets. Just remember, these mixtures may be high in sodium.

Of course, many of us in the southern states start our new year with black-eyed peas…for good luck!  So, if you have never tried this economical dish, I have included my recipe below.  Happy New Year!

Check It Out!

1 pound package of dried black-eyed peas
9 cups water
Hambone or country ham seasoning meat
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 can chopped tomatoes (optional)
(Serves 4-5 hungry adults)

Examine the beans for any small pebbles or other debris. Rinse well, then place in a pot and cover with two inches of freshwater. Cover, and let soak overnight.

The next day, drain and rinse the beans.

Place the ham bone in 9 cups of water, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 40 minutes.  Add the rinsed beans, and simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes.  Remove bone, and set aside to cool.

Bring to a boil  Rinsed beans


Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the beans.  It will foam.  This helps the beans release some of their gases, making them easier on digestion. Stir, then add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and cumin. (Add canned chopped tomatoes, if using.)


Bone to cool  Add baking soda


Simmer on low until beans are tender, but not mushy. (About 1 to 2 hours) Add any extra meat from the cooled ham bone, and add additional chopped country ham, if desired. Serve with collard greens, cornbread, and brown rice, for a tasty, but economical meal.


Cornbread  Collard greens


Black-eyed Peas

Quick Tip


Remember to examine and rinse the beans well before using.
Soak beans overnight…if you do not remember to do this, you can rinse the beans, cover with water, and simmer them for about two hours before starting the recipe.

Seasonings make the beans! Do not be afraid to experiment with some of your favorite spices!

Bibliography: N/A


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