Color, texture and flavor combine in two new varieties of southernpeas - WhipperSnapper and GreenPack-DG - designed to please the Southern palate.
Agricultural Research Service research leader Richard L. Fery co-developed these superior southernpeas, released in 2006 and touted recently in HortScience.
Sometimes called cowpeas, black-eyed peas, field peas or crowders, southernpeas technically are beans. They are popular in traditional southern cuisine in soups, salads, casseroles and fritters.
For those interested in the new varieties, here are the details:
GreenPack-DG forms long, slightly curved pods that hold 12 plump, olive-green peas, each with a pink eye. It is the only pink-eyed southernpea that has two genes for greenness, not just one. Its "DG" initials stand for "double green." The genes ensure that the peas won't lose some of their green color while growers are waiting for the pods to become dry enough to machine-harvest and to shell the peas from the pods.
Double-greenness gives GreenPack-DG a significant advantage over Charleston Greenpack, an earlier southernpea from Fery's laboratory that has only one greenness gene. In fact, Fery expects GreenPack-DG to replace the earlier southernpea as a favorite for processing into frozen pea products.
WhipperSnapper yields pods packed with 14 creamy-white, kidney-shaped peas. It can be picked when the pods are still immature, tender and edible, then sold as fresh snaps. The pods also can be left on the vine until ready to sell with full-sized peas either within the pods, or shelled.
This southernpea flourishes in weather that's too hot for some other beans. Also, it is extremely easy to shell, a feature that should make it especially popular with home gardeners, who typically shell by hand. Larger-scale growers will find the southernpea suitable for mechanical harvesting.