black-eyed beans

14 Interesting Facts About Black-Eyed Beans

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Black-eyed beans, also known as black eyed peas or cowpeas, are a type of bean that is popular in many cuisines around the world. Here are 14 fascinating facts about these nutritious legumes:


Black-eyed beans have been cultivated for thousands of years and are an important staple crop in many parts of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. They are packed with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Read on to learn more about the history, nutrition, and uses of black-eyed beans.


  1. Origins – Black-eyed beans are believed to have originated in West Africa, likely in the region of Nigeria. From there they spread throughout Africa and were later brought to the Americas through the slave trade.
  2. Other Names – Black-eyed beans go by many other names around the world, including lobia, lubia, frijol de ojo negro, and cowpeas. They are known as “black eyed peas” in the southern United States.
  3. Importance in Africa – Black-eyed beans have been cultivated in Africa for over 3,000 years. Today they are an essential crop and food source for millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.
  4. Culinary Uses – Black-eyed beans are used in a wide variety of cuisines globally. Some examples are hoppin’ john, gallo pinto, feijoada, lobia, and dal makhani. They can be used to make soups, stews, salads, side dishes and more.
  5. Nutrition – A one-cup serving of cooked black eyed beans contains about:
    • 200 calories
    • 13 grams protein
    • Folate
    • Iron
    • Potassium
    • Fiber

This makes them a very nutritious addition to any diet!

A plate full of carbohydrates. Black-eyed beans, splt peas, rice #fitness #diet #carbohydrates #rice #beans #peas #enjoy
A plate full of carbohydrates. Black-eyed beans, splt peas, rice #fitness #diet #carbohydrates #rice #beans #peas #enjoy by Christos Pontikis is licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0 .
  1. Nitrogen Fixation – Black eyed beans have nodules on their roots that contain bacteria called rhizobia. These bacteria convert nitrogen gas from the air into ammonia, which provides usable nitrogen for the plants and enriches the soil.
  2. Texas State Legume – Texas made the black eyed pea its official state legume in 1990. This recognizes the importance of black eyed peas in Southern cooking in dishes like hoppin’ john.
  3. New Year’s Tradition – There is a tradition in the Southern United States of eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. This dates back to the Civil War era.
  4. Drought Resistant – Black eyed beans are quite drought resistant due to their African origins, making them an important crop in hot, dry regions of Asia and Africa.
  5. Soil Restoration – As nitrogen fixing legumes, black eyed beans can be used as a cover crop to restore nutrients and organic matter to poor soils.
  6. Pest Resistance – Most varieties of black eyed beans have natural resistance to many common insect pests like leafhoppers and aphids. This makes them relatively easy to grow.
  7. Plant Growth – Black eyed bean plants are vines that can either bush or climb depending on the variety. Most grow 1-3 feet tall.
  8. Harvesting – The edible beans are harvested when the pods turn yellow-brown and the seeds inside rattle. This indicates maturity.
  9. Storage – When stored properly in a cool, dark place, dried black eyed bean seeds can remain viable for up to 8 years, allowing farmers to save seeds for replanting.


As you can see, black-eyed beans are an ancient, versatile, and nutritious food that continues to nourish people around the globe today. Their resilience, hardiness, and nitrogen-fixing properties make them an ecologically sustainable crop. Whether enjoyed in a hearty stew or a bright bean salad, black-eyed peas are a tasty and healthy pantry staple.

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