They are much used in American and African cooking, and are the essential ingredient in a traditional southern-style dish known as Hoppin’ John.
The black-eyed pea, black-eyed bean, or goat pea, a legume, is a subspecies of the cowpea, grown around the world for its medium-sized, edible bean.
The common commercial variety is called the California Blackeye; it is pale-colored with a prominent black spot.
The American South has countless varieties, many of them heirloom, that vary in size from the small lady peas to very large ones, as may be seen in the state and municipal farmers’ markets. All the peas are green when freshly shelled and brown or buff when dried. A popular variation of the black-eyed pea is the purple hull pea; it is usually green with a prominent purple or pink spot.