Black-Eyed Peas (Cowpeas): Nutrition Facts and Benefits

Black Eyed Peas (Cowpeas) Nutrition Facts and Benefits: Cowpea is one of the most popular legumes among humans. It is widely used in many cuisines including Indian, Chinese, Italian, Greek, Japanese and Mexican cuisine. Cowpea is a member of the family Fabaceae which includes beans such as soybeans and fava bean. Its name comes from the Latin word pecus meaning “cow”. It is commonly known as chickpea or garbanzo bean. Cowpeas are native to South America but they have been cultivated in other parts of the world since ancient times. They were first domesticated in Mexico around 200 BC and then brought to Europe by Arab traders during the 8th century AD. By the 14th century, European farmers had introduced them into England where they became very popular with English peasants due to their high protein content and low cost. They were also useful for making bread and pasta. In 1876, it was discovered that cowpeas could be grown successfully without soil and water in open fields. These early farmers of the future would call themselves “agriculturalists” today!

The nutritional benefits of cowpeas include:

• High protein content – 4 grams per 100 gram serving (4 servings = 1 cup).

• Low glycemic index – less than 50% of normal values for carbohydrates.

• Good source of dietary fiber – 7.5 grams per 100 gram serving.

Other nutrients in cowpeas are:

• High in vitamin C – 15% of RDA per 100 gram serving.

Black-Eyed Peas Nutrition Facts: Black-eyed peas nutrition is high in antioxidants which help scavenge harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals have been linked to an increase risk of many chronic diseases and conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Common Name: Black-eyed peas

Scientific Name: Vigna unguiculata subspecies unguiculata

Description: Black-eyed peas are annual climbing legumes that grow in a vine with bell-shaped flowers. They have mottled dark green leaves and pink or purple flowers.

Origin: Native to Africa but brought to America during the slave trade. Cultivated worldwide.

Common Names: black-eyed peas, cowpeas, Texas crowsfoot, cat’s eyes, buzay

western bean

Treatment: Raw

Cooking: Soak 1 part beans to 5-7 parts water for at least 8 hours and then simmer until soft. They can also be sprouted and eaten raw in salads.

Domestication: Indigenous

Origin: Central America

Common Names: Ash Gourd, Spine Pepper, Tondli,Tuntuni,Ladie’s Thumb, Slender Lady, White Wonder, Chilly-Pepper, Bitter Gourd

Treatment: cooked or raw. Bitter taste disappears when cooked.

Cooking: It can be boiled, steamed, baked or fried. It can also be stuffed after removing the seeds.

Domestication: Native to India, but spread to other Asian countries and the Caribbean Islands.

Origin: Southeast Asia; India and China

Common Names: Gherkins, Cucumbers, Melongene

Treatment: Pick when young and green.

Cooking: They can be eaten raw in salads or pickled.

Domestication: Probably first cultivated in India around 6,000 years ago.