The Cowpea, also called Crowder Peas, Blackeyed Peas, Field Peas, Stock Peas and Southern Peas, is neither a standard pea nor a bean. It belongs to a separate group of legumes having upright bushes and beautiful lilac or white blossoms. They are high in protein and rich in essential amino acids, and are very nutritious alongside grains, making an excellent meat alternative for vegetarians.
Introduced to the Southern states from Northen Africa during the slave trade, they were given the name “cowpea” as they were thought to be fit only for animal fodder, or slave food. Today they are grown, eaten and enjoyed with a relish and enthusiasm that is surprising to those not familiar with the South.