A Review from the archives originally published in August of 2007

Gray-Speckled Palapyes has been taking over the garden. The Palapye is a cowpea like the black eyed pea or the purple hulled pea. My wife loves both Black eyes and especially purple hulls, so I thought I would try a different cowpea. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds sold me this rare variety from Botswana, Africa and they have done amazingly well.

The plants took off strongly and when the heat set in around July they really went wild. They have taken down two tomato plants that were in vine-reach (though the tomatoes don’t seem to mind) and have completely choked out my yellow beans and climbed all over their trellis. They began setting pods pretty early, and have been consistently producing since July.

Typical pods, these were a later crop but the same cowpea variety

Caleb and I harvested all the pods today, both those I left on to dry and yellow a bit and the green ones. We wanted to try the beans out both ways. When shelled, the drier pods yield nice little brown speckled peas with a tiny eye, while the green ones yield a green to grey plump bean. Ideally, harvesting only those that have just begun to turn from green to yellow would have been best, but I don’t have enough of the plants to pick and choose.

Both batches are simmering in a little water with a teaspoon of bacon grease to give them that southern touch. The brown ones plump up real nice and thicken the water slightly like a gravy (they are supposed to do that if you like southern food). The green and grey ones are looking as good too.

I had thought that we had missed the prime picking time while we were on vacation, but the drier, brown peas seem to be doing just fine. The only thing that seems to be different is cooking time, and of course the drier beans will have a little less flavor.

Taste testing
The beans turned out exceptionally good! The greener beans taken from the green and light yellow pods indeed retained a little more flavor, but the brown ones are good too. They taste like purple hulled peas, but I think these are better, probably because I grew them myself! A very tasty cowpea, and a good performer in our hot summer weather.

Cooked and served!