Confession: This was a difficult Difference Between – I couldn’t find a lot of information on purple hull peas. Although, what I did find was quite favorable.
In the interest of today being New Years Eve – I do love seasonal posts! – I did want to write about black-eyed peas, a Southern staple and longtime good luck New Years food.
So, here’s what I found with the difference between black-eyed peas and purple hull peas.
Black-eyed peas and purple hull peas both:
- Are types of cowpeas.
- Are actually beans, not peas.
- Are high in protein and fiber.
- Are available dried or fresh.
Cowpeas are believed to be native to Africa, and came to America via the slave trade. They can flourish in poor soil conditions, including very sandy soil, as can be found in the South. And, they enjoy hot weather and are tolerant of droughts.
As we can see, the cowpea is quite versatile. What was once considered an easy-to-grow food for the poor, cowpeas are now a significant staple of the southern food culture.
Purdue University has a great post listing different kinds of cowpeas, including browneye, crowder, etc. Interestingly, black-eyed peas are listed with “purpleeye peas,” which I can only take to be another name for purple hull peas.
It says, “The seeds are white with a black eye round the hilum. The ‘eye’ can be other colors, purple or shades of red being common. The seeds are not tightly packed or ‘crowded’ in the pod and are kidney or oblong in shape.”
Similarly, Wikipedia lists the purple hull pea as a type of black-eyed pea.
Given the above information, we could almost deduce that black-eyed peas are virtually identical to purple hull peas, although there is a difference in color, with purple hull having a greenish tint (when dried).
However, I found several bloggers insisting that purple hull peas are favorable over their black-eyed counterparts – this would suggest that there must be a difference, and further, a winner between the two beans.
As we can see from the first picture in this post, blogger Liz, a self proclaimed food snob, post a caption with her purple hull peas that describes them as, “Similar to black-eyed peas, except 10,000 times better.”
Blogger Kristi says that purple hull peas “look like black-eyed yet are tastier and prettier.”
And, ProduceExpress.net finds a “common perception [that] purple hull peas are creamier, smoother, and more delicious than their cousin, black eyed-peas.”
Based on my findings, I would conclude that purple hull peas are preferable, flavor-wise, over black-eyed. Admittedly, I have yet to try either, so I can’t proclaim purple hull’s superiority based on personal experience. But, this seems to be a consensus among foodies.
What makes purple hull peas taste better is a mystery for now, but I do believe it’s safe to say that black-eyed peas and purple hull peas can be swapped out for one another in recipes.