Black-eyed Beans: Culinary, Nutritional and Health Properties of Black-eyed Peas
Do you enjoy eating and cooking with black-eyed beans? If you haven’t tried these intriguing members of the pulse family previously, then read on. Black-eyed beans are small (about one centimetre) oval beans, cream with a black spot on one side. (Guess where they get their name?!) Their Latin name is vigna sinensis. They are referred to as beans in the UK. In the U.S. you may be more familiar with them as 'black-eyed peas'. This has nothing to do with the famous rap/R&B band the Black-Eyed Peas, or their hot sexy singer Fergie plus Will.I.Am, Taboo and Apl.De.Ap! So if you swung in to take a look at this hub in hopes of finding some news or gossip about the Black-Eyed Peas, you're outta luck!
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They can be cooked in much the same way as most other legumes, i.e. with a soak overnight followed by boiling (quickly) for at least ten minutes, then further cooking until they are tender and delicious. (Some people prefer them cooked until they are mushy and soft).
What kind of recipes can you use black-eyed beans for? I find them to be good in soups and stews, and also great as an alternative to chick peas for a kind of houmous. Extra garlic in a savoury black-eyed bean paste makes it super-delicious: their earthy, 'dry' flavour, which I personally find yummy, goes really well in this dish.
What are the nutritional qualities of black-eyed beans? Well, the NutritionData website gives figures for a 172 gram portion, cooked without salt, as being 36 grams of carbohydrate, 13 grams of protein and one gram of fat. (Not a bad addition to a low-fat diet there!)
Its statistics also suggest that 'cowpeas' are a good source of iron and calcium: one for the ladies! Total fibre content is given as being 11 grams, which is a very respectable addition to anyone's daily fiber intake. Daily fiber requirement is suggested by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board1 as being 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women. A couple of servings of beans and you're most of the way there!
As with other pulses, if you serve black-eyed beans along with a grain such as rice, wheat, barley or maize, this then provides a complete protein with all of the essential amino acids for growth and repair. Not forgetting that if you are celiac or have problems digesting gluten, then beans including black eyed peas are gluten-free!
If you haven't tried black-eyed beans before then why not give them a go? High in fibre and iron, low in fat, they're a delicious and nutritious addition to any culinary repertoire.
1. National Academy of Sciences. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board."Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients)". Dietary Guidance. (2005) (25/02/2010). <http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI//DRI_Energy/339-421.pdf>
2. NutritionData.com "Cowpeas, common (blackeyes, crowder, southern), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt." Nutrition Facts. 2009. (27/02/2010). <http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4332/2>
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