Southern Field Peas

In Season,Ingredient,Recipes
September 15, 2011

Lady, pink-eye, purple hull, and crowders—enter the world of Southern field peas.

Purple Hull Peas
Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blackburn

It's the last gasp for field peas. Well, ok, field peas may never have had any gasp for lots of you, but here in the South, field peas are a common sight at farmers markets all summer and a mainstay on my plate.

When I moved to the South, the world of fresh field peas was a revelation to me. Colorful, and receptive to all sorts of ingredients and flavors, I fell in love. Pink eyes, lady peas, purple hull, baby crowders—their names were as good as their taste. Now peas quickly boiled and  sauteed with a bit of country ham, garlic, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and a dash of oil and lemon juice are a standard for dinner all summer long. Nestled alongside sliced tomatoes, spoon bread and some fresh mozzarella, they're heaven. But don't hold your breath, it will be next July before they come around again.

—By Jill Melton, Relish Editor

pea salad

Purple Hull Pea Salad

A unique salad of earthy field peas in vinagrette over tomatoes, arugula, onion and basil.

Lady Peas with Bacon and Corn

A delicious side dish featuring field peas or lima beans.


East-West Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas, a New Year’s Day must, team up with miso for a bicultural celebration.


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