A Cooking Guide for Seasonal Southern Purple Hull Peas

With the holidays around the corner, everyone is in a jolly mood. Brighten the day with the delicious Southern Purple Hull Peas.

Now, you must wonder why the purple-eyed peas are not black or other field peas.

Simply because of the minimal seasonings it requires and the creamy texture and flavor of the purple hull peas stand apart with slight differences from other peas.

If you are a Southerner or fond of Southern cuisine, the homemade purple hull peas recipe will not disappoint you. The kids will love the nutritional legumes, and so will the occasional guests.

Stick till the end, and we will tell you how to cook and season the peas, the various cooking methods, how to blanch and store them, and what to serve with them.

Southern Purple Hull Peas: All that You Must Know

Southern Purple Hull Peas All that You Must Know

It is easy to make and is served best as an entree or side dish with the main meal. It can be savored for any occasion and served with pork and cornbread. As followed by the tradition in the South, peas are a staple food to celebrate the New Year, including collard greens and ham.

Hoppi’ John is the most served food on New Year’s Eve in Southern parts of the World. It consists of black-eyed peas, bacon, rice, chopped onions, and bell peppers. Substitute the black-eyed peas with purple hull peas(also known as pink-eye peas).

Key Prerequisites to Prepare Purple Hull Peas

Before we get into the details of preparing the delicacy, it is important to get the ingredients and tools required to cook the peas. This will help you to avoid any last-minute madness.

Essential Ingredients

Essential Ingredients

Items Required


Purple Hull Peas

1 ½ lbs

Smoked Ham Hock


Slices of Bacon(optional)



According to taste


According to taste

Salt & Pepper

According to taste

Tools Required

Tools Required .jpg

Large Pot

Cutting Board


Measuring Cup


Cooking Spoons

How to Make Purple Hull Beans

There are various ways to cook and season purple hull peas; we will tell you the most convenient way.

Once you know how to cook purple hull peas, trying this recipe with certain changes and customization will make it easy to make other field peas. So, follow the steps thoroughly.

Step 1: Heat the Oil to Toss to Your Vegetables

Heat the Oil to Toss to Your Vegetables

In a large saucepan, pour some olive oil and heat it over medium-to-low flame. You can also use bacon grease in case olive oil is not there. Once the oil is ready, toss the chopped onion and garlic in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until tender. Make sure you do not burn the vegetables to a brownish color; keep them translucent to keep the taste fresh.

Step 2: Cook the Bacon

Cook the Bacon .jpg

In a Dutch oven, add some chopped bacon over medium heat. This is done to render the fat to increase the shelf life of the dish. Check the bacon for its crispiness, and once it is ready, remove it with a slotted spoon and keep it aside.

Step 3: Saute Your Peas Well

Saute Your Peas Well

It’s now time to add the peas to the pot. Take a separate container and add the purple hull peas and chicken broth. Pour water enough to let the legumes immerse completely in the water. Make sure the water level is an inch above the level of peas. If required, you can add the Southern seasoning- Country ham hock. This will give your dish the authentic Southern flavor.

Stir everything well on a high flame and add salt and pepper for flavoring. Let it all boil on a high flame, and then reduce the heat and simmer the ingredients for 1 and a half hours.

Step 4: Finalize Your Dish Well to Serve

Finalize Your Dish Well to Serve

After an hour or 1 ½ hour, check the peas to see if they are properly tender. Don’t let the peas get mushy. After it has been cooked well, let it sit for about 10 minutes. Your Southern Purple Hull Peas are ready. Remove the ham hock, and your side dish is ready to be served. It is best served just after it has been cooked. The aroma and the flavor are at its best.

Important Tips While Preparing Purple Hull Peas

Although we have deliberately mentioned all the steps to cook the purple hull peas, you need to remember certain things while cooking the Southern delicacy.

It might be the first time you are trying your hands on this dish, and we want to ensure you know all the necessities. So, check these out:

  • Peas are most fresh in June and last till the early fall. Buy in bulk quantities for the season and keep them stored in the freezer.
  • Soak the peas overnight.
  • Rinse the peas thoroughly and remove any debris(if present). This will help in even cooking.
  • Okra is a personal and optional step. After the dish is prepared, you can add okra and let it boil for the next 5 minutes and wait for 15 minutes to let it rest.
  • Baking soda is a magical ingredient that is a culinary technique and not a substitute. You can add it to the dish while boiling the ingredients to enhance the flavor and faster cooking. It will soften the peas.
  • Since it is a thickening agent, you might be tempted to add water after adding okra. Make sure you do not overload the dish with water. Add in minimum quantity, boil the water properly, and mix well.

Different Methods to Cook Purple Hull Peas

As we mentioned earlier, various ways of cooking purple hull peas exist. While we explained the easiest process, we think it is apt for you to know other processes as well.

  • Slow Cooker Method: You do not need to prepare the parts in various stages. All you need to do is add all the ingredients in a single crock pot and cook the dish for 5-6 hours on low heat. This will let the seasoning and flavoring do its magic. Since it is being cooked long, double-check the liquid level frequently so the ingredients do not burn.
  • Instant Pot Method: Unlike the abovementioned process, this one is quick. Take fresh peas in an instant pot and add 2 ½ cups of water to it. Add broth and seasoning and set the timer to manual for 20 minutes. After it is cooked, let the steam release. This is a quick method for when guests visit to surprise you, and you do not have much time to cook.

Calorie Count

Protein- 6g

Fat- 1g

Carbohydrates- 13g

Vitamin C- 48 mg

Sugar- 5g

Iron- 2mg

Calories- 81 Kcal

Calcium- 34mg

Fiber- 4g

How to Blanch Peas?

How to Blanch Peas?

Before freezing the peas in the refrigerator, it is wise to blanch them. This helps in retaining the peas’ taste, color, and texture. It is done in simple steps:

  • Shell the peas, rinse, and remove debris.
  • Now, boil the peas in steaming water for 2-3 minutes.
  • Prepare a large bowl of ice water. After the peas are boiled, instantly transfer them to the bowl of ice water. Let them cool for a good minute.
  • After it has cooled down, drain the peas in a colander to remove excess water. After soaking it up, place it in a plastic freezer bag, and the blanched peas are good to use for the next 6 months.

Pro Tip: After blanching, the peas need not be thawed before cooking.

What to Serve with Purple Hull Peas

What to Serve with Purple Hull Peas

The versatility does the talking for the Purple Hull Peas; the Southern ‘pot lekker’ is almost always filled with Southern Cornbread, Hoe Cakes, and Southern Peas.

Since Purple Hull Peas are rich in protein, they can be served along with meatless dinners, such as Southern Potato Salad, Squash Casserole, Fried Sweet Corn, and Fried Green Tomatoes.

You can also serve the peas with Fried Chicken or Fried Oysters. Purple Hull Peas is a regular ingredient in Hoppin’ John, Hummus, Soups, and Salads.


Southern Purple Hull Peas are a great way to add flavor and health to the meal. Its healthy and natural content makes the dish a must-go when looking for light celebrations. But, you need to plan the cooking ahead of time since peas are available during summers and cooked during winters.

You can cook a delicious side dish for the kids and family with a little time in hand. Also, you do not need to worry about fat and nutritional content, as we mentioned the nutrition intake one has when having purple hull peas.

So, wait for what? You have the fun recipe ready. Whenever ready with ingredients, cook the dish and let us know in the comments how much everyone loved the recipe. Also, let us know if you made any modifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Peas Be Put Up Without Blanching?

It is always preferable to blanch the peas before freezing. Without blanching, you might lose the softness and flavor of the peas after it has been stored in summer and utilized later.

How Long Does it Take to Process Purple Hull Peas?

The processing and cooking of purple hull peas depends on the life and age of the peas. The fresh ones soften faster; thereby, the cooking is done faster than the peas that are stored and frozen for a long time.

How Do I Know When My Peas are Ready?

The hull or the pod is light green when raw and uncooked. As it gets cooked, the color changes from purple-green, light purple to deep burgundy as it matures. Also, you will notice the thickness and crispness of the dish. The hull becomes dry, tough, and fibrous when matured.

Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver is a culinary maestro with over 25 years of experience who brings a wealth of knowledge to our culinary section. He graduated with honors in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management, which laid the groundwork for his illustrious career. He holds a Master’s in Gastronomy and has enriched our culinary content since 2017. His prior experience includes executive chef positions at high-end eateries and authoring several cookbooks. And his approach to cooking emphasizes sustainability and locally sourced ingredients. He is a great gardener as well.

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