Black-eyed peas are a Southern cuisine classic. Some people eat these legumes on New Year’s Day as an old superstition that they bring good luck, but many cultures worldwide enjoy them year-round, too. From salsas to soups to Mexican-style rice and beans, black-eyed peas are super versatile.
Like other beans, they give off a starch when cooked without soaking them first. (For some recipes, this thick starch works). Along with reducing the starch, soaking helps to shorten the cooking time.
A couple notes: Canned black-eyed peas don’t need to be soaked—they can just be drained and heated for use in most recipes. Don’t add salt during soaking unless instructed per the recipe because it’ll crack the casings, which makes them mushy.
Soaking Technique: Overnight
The overnight soaking method is an easy way to reduce starch and cooking time in a bean recipe.
Things You'll Need
Rinse the black-eyed peas thoroughly in a colander. Transfer to a deep container and add water to about 1 to 2 inches above the beans. Cover and let them soak in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
Soaking Technique: Quick Soak
Quick soaking is just as effective as an overnight soak.
Things You'll Need
Rinse the black-eyed peas in a colander and transfer them to a cooking pot. Cover the beans with water and bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and allow to stand for an hour to 90 minutes. Drain the water and continue with the recipe as desired.
Soups and Stews
In a soup or stew, cook soaked black-eyed peas from 1 hour to 90 minutes. Unsoaked beans should cook for 2 to 4 hours, testing every half hour. If you’re adding vegetables, wait until approximately 30 minutes before the beans are completely softened so they don’t overcook.
Salsas and Relishes
You want to maintain black-eyed peas’ shape for salsa and relish recipes. To do this, cook soaked beans between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Test the beans every 15 minutes or so. Unsoaked beans should cook for 2 to 3 hours, testing them every half hour for softness. Drain the black-eyed peas immediately to prevent a thick, slippery coating.