Black-eyed Beans get their name from their small black dot resembling an eye. Also known more commonly as "Black Eyed Peas" or the cow pea, they're thought to have originated in North Africa and are prominent in Southern US cuisine, as well as in African stews and casseroles. The Real Black Eyed Peas "Black Eyed Peas" were brought to the New World by Spanish explorers and African slaves, with the earliest records of them dating from 1674 when they were introduced to the West Indies. Now a common food in the southern United States, black-eyed peas are traditionally enjoyed in the southern US as Hopping John b a southern specialty featuring black-eyed peas and rice, typically slow-simmered with bacon, ham or other smoked meats. When eaten on New Year's Day, Hopping John is said to bring good luck. The beans, representing prosperity, swell when they're cooked. They're served with collard greens to represent money and cornbread to represent gold. All beans are marvels of nature's kitchen: filled with beneficial phytonutrients, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber and protein. They're storehouses of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and folate. One serving of black-eyed peas contains 70 calories, and Black-eyed beans were particularly rich sources of potassium. Tasty Tips and Storage Black eyed beans are most commonly associated in North America with Southern food, but they are the perfect addition to many healthy recipes, such as dips and salads. Enjoy them in soups, chilies and more, or cook up a pot of delicious, Certified Organic "Hopping John" for New Year! Like most beans, Black-Eyed beans benefit from soaking before cooking. Soak them for six to eight hours before cooking, or bring to a boil in water, remove from heat, cover and soak for 1 hour. Always drain soaking water before cooking. To cook add fresh water and cover the beans by two inches. Boil uncovered for about 10 minutes and skim off any foam. Traditionally, a strip of Kombu seaweed is used in Asia to help soften beans (added at the beginning of cooking). Cover pot and simmer for about one and a half hours. Add seasonings as desired; beans benefit from adding salt during the last half hour or so of cooking. Like most stored foods, beans are best stored in the absence of oxygen and light, which can speed rancidity and fade bean colour. Store in a cool dark pantry in our resealable bags or an airtight container. Refrigerated/frozen storage isn't recommended for dried beans, which will last for a year or more correctly stored in the pantry.