Monday, August 22, 2011

Canning Field Peas

Purple hulled field peas... high in fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins, and lutein. We found them at the farmers market and bought a half bushel.

Field peas are related to the black-eyed pea... or cowpea... Cowpeas came over on slave ships from Africa to North America and figured largely into the diet of slaves on Southern plantations. The pea's association with "cow" comes from white landowners thinking that beans were fit only for cows, but ironically, the slaves were eating more nutritious, high-protein fare than the heavy salt-pork diet of their masters.

Field peas, black-eyed peas, cowpeas... are a Southern tradition!

My wonderful DH agreed to shell all those peas so I could can them...

DH sits on the porch shelling peas, with his trusty assistant, Smokey at his feet, ever willing to help!

Once the peas were shelled we washed them, and washed them again... making sure to remove any wigglers (worms or bugs). We like to season our peas with bacon or other meat, but we're not overly fond of worm meat... just sayin' (Hey, worms and bugs are a fact of life in vegetable gardening, it's something you deal with and move on... so let's move on)

I canned my peas using a hot-pack method, which means I put my peas in a saucepan and filled with water to cover the peas and brought it to a boil over medium-high heat and cooked for about three minutes until everything was heated through.

I prepared my pint jars by placing them in a pan of boiling water on two stove eyes and kept them hot until I was ready to fill them.

I simmered my lids and rings in hot water, keeping them hot until I was ready for them.

Once the peas were heated through, I ladled them along with the cooking liquid, into the hot jars to within about an inch of the rim. 

I removed any air bubbles by running a butter knife between the peas and the inside of the jar and adjusted the headspace by adding more peas and liquid as necessary. I added a half teaspoon of canning salt to each pint jar, wiped the rims, then screwed the lids on to fingertip tightness.

Peas are a low acid food, so they must be pressure canned. I placed my jars into my pressure canner then (since canners vary, be sure to follow the directions that come with your brand of canner) processed them at 10 pounds of pressure for 40 minutes (quarts would process for 50 minutes).

After processing, I removed the canner from the heat and let the pressure return to ZERO naturally. I opened the vent, removed the canner lid, and removed the jars using my jar lifter. I set the jars on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool and to listen for that wonderful PING of each successfully sealed jar.

Mmmmmm... yummy!!! Can't wait for field peas cooked with a little bacon and some relish on the side this winter... comfort food at its finest! 

Canning Granny©2011 All Rights Reserved


  1. Those field peas look wonderful...we love those things! :) I really enjoy your blog and hope to one day try making and canning ketchup using your recipe.
    I noticed in your picture the "hard water ring" around your jars and just thought I would mention this little tip, though you probably already know about it. We have very hard well water and when I can, I always add just a small bit of vinegar...maybe just a the water. The jars come out ring!! :)
    Thanks for your helpful posts!
    lori.a.ferguson at

  2. Thanks for the tip and thanks for reading! ~~Granny

  3. I love your site and am going to bookmark it. But I have a question I hope you can help me with. My husband is from the beach area of S.C. and we get,what they call, butter beans from there. There are two different kinds - green and purple . I would like to can them to get them out of my freezer but my mother-in-law has always frozen hers and when I saw you were from Columbia I thought you might know about the butter beans(cause you can't get these anywhere else but around the beach area-I guess it has something to do with the soil(or sand) down there.) I hope you know what I'm talking about Any help as to how to can them would be greatly appreciated! Sorry this is so long!
    Keith-girl with boys name

  4. Thank you for reading, Keith (girl with boys name)I am very familiar with butter beans, love them. You would can them using the same method as any legume, the same method as the post above for field peas. ~~Granny

  5. have you ever done that with them? I'm just afraid they will not be as good as frozen and we think of these as gold!LOL

  6. I totally understand, and yes I have canned them... they will be a little mushier than frozen, so maybe not quite as good. I have limited freezer space so I can as much as I am able. ~~Granny

  7. Granny, considering canning peas for the first time. Honestly how much do you lose in taste this way. And how long do they keep.

    1. In my opinion, no taste is lost, the peas are a little softer than fresh cooked or frozen but still very good. They'll keep 2-5 years. ~~Grany

  8. I like my peas and beans cooked until creamy (I'm from Louisiana and like them the texture of the traditional red beans there) Is it OK to cook the beans until they are that consistency before canning them? Also can you put pork such as bacon in with canning beans or do I need to wait until after? I have only canned fruit before but want to expand because of space and flavor into vegetables. Thanks in advance for any advice

    1. Emily, I would cook them until they were about halfway to the way you like them, they'll cook a LOT in the pressure canner. And yes, you can definitely add some pork or other meat, but you'll need to cook them for the time and pounds pressure for the pork since it's a longer time... for pints, pork would be 75 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure, quarts would be 90 minutes. ~~Granny

  9. May i ask why pints and not quarts? Also i am having liquid loss. I lose about and inch inch and a half when i pressure can......any clue why? I cold pack. I leave almost a inch of space for peas to plump up in. Does hot packing keep this from happening?

    1. Pints because it's only my husband and me now, a pint is enough for a meal for us. It's normal to lose liquid and there are a number of reasons as to why this happens... Packing the food too tightly or loosely in the jar.
      Starchy foods sometimes absorb all the liquid. Use more liquid with these starchy vegetables.
      Air naturally entrained within the fruit or vegetable that wasn't released (generally this happens more with raw pack than hot pack)
      The jars filled too full (too much vegetable/fruit compared to the amount of liquid).
      In pressure canning: Fluctuating pressure in the pressure canner. Let pressure return to zero gradually, avoiding the sudden release of pressure through the vent. Do not hasten the cooling with cold water.
      All air bubbles were not removed prior to sealing the lids and rings on the jars
      As long as the jars remained sealed, they'll be ok, but they should be checked more frequently and used up first. ~~Granny

  10. Ok so I am new to all this but I have successfully pressure canned/cooked Navy beans, Great Northern beans ect.. And I filled cold pints with 2/3 cup beans filled to 1 inch head space with water and processed 1.5 hours all is good but now I want to do black eyed peas... my question is do I do the same as the beans ? or because they are "dried peas" i can fill the pint with 1 inch space and then add water ??? or do black eyed peas expand just like the beans do ?????

    1. Dried black eyed peas will expand just like beans do. Can them using the same method as you have the dried beans. ~~Granny

  11. Granny, I just canned 18 pints of dried black eyed peas today. I followed directions. I presoaked my beans over night, I cooked them 30 minutes, I hot packed them into hot jars, I added the salt, I wiped the rims, I heated the lids, etc, etc,. I did everything that I was suppose to do. whenever I took the jars out of the canner they looked good, the jars where full of water and the water was boiling. All lids sealed properly, everything went well except.....whenever I went to check on the jars a few hours later the water was...It looked like it was GONE, that the beans were dry. I started to put them into the refrig to just take them out of the jars tomorrow and just freeze husband looked at one and started shaking the jar and the beans kind of come loose and the liquid (what was there was) started to flow around the jars. Once the liquid settled, I guess you could say it was 3/4 full of liquid. I took the jars out of the refrig and shook every jar to loosen up the liquid....NOW COMES THE QUESTION: Will they be SAFE to EAT??? SHOULD I GO AHEAD AND JUST FREEZE THEM???
    WILL THEY LAST SITTING IN MY PANTRY until I get ready to eat them???? PLEASE HELP

    1. Linda, beans and peas are notorious for soaking up TONS of water... they'll be perfectly safe to eat and will last on your shelf. You may get a little darkening on top but it's not dangerous and once you stir it all up when you heat them, the dark part goes away. ~~Granny

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  15. How much and how do I add bacon to canning blackeye peas? This is my first time trying and is there anything more that I need to add besides salt?


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