black-eyed bean, blackeye. cow pea
Fresh Black Eyed peas are a shelling bean and legume and a subspecies of the cowpea. These fresh beans are not a pea but rather a bean surrounded by a long and green pod. Some Black Eye pods can grow to two feet in length, although they are rarely found fresh. The beans themselves are a petite white legume with a curved shaped and a narrow black circle in the center of the bean's structure – this is the signature "eye". The eye is developed at the exact spot where the bean attaches to the pod. The color of the eye may be black, brown, red, pink or green. All the peas are green when freshly shelled and brown or buff when dried. Black eyed peas are firm when cooked and have a slightly nutty flavor.
Most Black Eye peas are sold as a dry legume and are a traditional meal for the New Year.