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Taste test: black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas in a bowl.

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Black-eyed peas in a bowl.

Southern tradition holds that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's brings good luck for the next 12 months. Our panelists weren't too concerned about custom, but they like to enjoy a good recipe with black-eyed peas. They shared stories of black-eyed peas with pork and greens, spiced and stirred into gumbo, salsa or New Year's Day stew. Officially, black-eyed peas are really beans. We found several options in local grocery stores, including many with added pork and spices. However, for this tasting, we went for canned black-eyed peas with no added ingredients.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Hanover 59Publix 56Great Value 46
Judges'

comments
Bigger beans, lots of gravy and plenty of salt made these beans a favorite among our judges. "They are nice, plump beans and they have really good flavor," said one panelist. "These would go great with some blackened chicken thighs." Another said he liked the firmness of the beans. "These have a nice pea liquor in the bottom of the bowl and they are nicely seasoned," he said. A judge who didn't want the salty flavor said she would rinse the beans and use them in a holiday hummus.While a couple of panelists said these beans were broken and not as attractive as some of the competition, they liked the savory flavor. "This has a full-bodied taste and the peas are firm," said one judge. "I would add smoked turkey legs to these and claim them as homemade." Another said, "These would go great with a big ham hock simmering on the stove."One panelist described these as "shiny, discrete, tidy-looking beans." She appreciated the texture of the beans, saying, "None were broken." These beans were small and soft but not mushy. They also had a subtle salty taste. "These have the perfect consistency for a salad — like Texas or Mississippi caviar," said one taster. Another said, "If you boiled two smoked turkey legs for three hours, removed the bones and skin and tossed in the peas for three minutes, this would be an excellent dish."
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information93 cents for a 15.5-ounce can from Publix.91 cents for a 15.5-ounce can.72 cents for a 15.5-ounce can from Walmart.


Also Sampled: Winn-Dixie (89 cents for a 15.5-ounce can, 45 points) and Clear Value (68 cents for a 15.5-ounce can from Winn-Dixie, 40 points).

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director at Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District Association; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

Serving sizeHalf cupHalf cupHalf cup
Calories9011070
Fat/Fiber0g / 3g0.5g / 4g0g / 4g
Sugars/Sodium0g / 380mg2g / 400mg2g / 125mg
Carbs/Protein17g / 6g16g / 8g13g / 5g

Taste test: black-eyed peas 12/24/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 24, 2015 10:14am]
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