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Black Eyed Peas for Good Luck in the New Year

Happy Healthy Holidays!

The story of the black eyed pea being considered good luck relates directly back to Sherman's Bloody March to the Sea in late 1864. It was called The Savannah Campaign and was lead by Major General William T. Sherman. The Civil War campaign began on 11/15/1864 when Sherman's troops marched from the captured city of Atlanta, Georgia, and ended at the port of Savannah on 12/22/1864.

When the smoke cleared, the southerners who had survived the onslaught came out of hiding. They found that the northern troops that had looted and stolen everything of value and everything you could eat including all livestock, death and destruction were everywhere. While in hiding, few had enough to eat, and starvation was now upon the survivors.

There was no international aid, no Red Cross meal trucks. The northern army had taken everything they could carry and eaten everything they could eat. But they couldn't take it all. The devastated people of the south found for some unknown reason that Sherman's troops had left silos full of black eyed peas.

At the time in the north, the lowly black eyed pea was only used to feed stock. The northern troops saw it as the thing of least value. Taking grain for their horses and livestock and other crops to feed themselves, they just couldn't take everything. So they left the black eyed peas in great quantities assuming it would be of no use to the survivors, since all the livestock it could feed had either been taken or eaten.

Southerners awoke to face a new year in this devastation and were facing massive starvation if not for the good luck of having the black eyed peas to eat. From New Year's Day 1866 forward, the tradition grew to eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck.

Nutrition Facts

Black Eyed Peas

  1. Canned black eyed peas are U.S. Grade A beans, also known as cowpeas.
  2. Black eyed peas are a low sodium food.
  3. One-half cup of black-eyed peas provides more than 15 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber.

Serve black-eyed peas cold or heated in salads, soups, stews, and chili. Black-eyed peas are great when added to rice and served as a side dish or vegetarian meal.

Black Eyed Peas and Rice Recipe

Black Eyed Peas Nutrition Data <3/4 cup water
1 chopped onion
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups low-sodium canned black-eyed peas, drained
4 cups rice, cooked
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Recipe Directions

In a large pan, bring the water, onion, celery, garlic, and pepper to a boil, stirring often. Add the black-eyed peas and return to a boil, stirring often.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring from time to time, until peas are tender and most of the water is gone, about 20 minutes.

Add rice, pepper, and pepper sauce. Stirring often, simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 servings
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 240; Protein: 6g; Total Fat: 1g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Sodium: 160mg; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates: 52g; Fiber: 6g

Sugar: 7g

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