Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vigna Tips

Heirloom variety "Clay"

Black Eye Pea blossom

Lots of folks don't know that the vine tips and young leaves of Vigna unguiculata (cowpea, black eye pea, "Clay", zipper pea, crowder pea, White Acre pea, etc.) are edible and nutritious added to stir fry, soups, omelets, stews, etc. I don't like them raw, plus if I rub against the vines shirtless when walking past them I get a painful "burn" that turns into a welt. But I love the fact that the young shiny leaves and abundant vine tips give me food long before the pods form. The blooms are wonderful on salads but of course each one eaten prevents a pod from forming. I've read that in Africa (continent of origin of the species) the mature leaves are harvested, dried then store for later use reconstituted with spices as they are quite rich in plant protein. See recipe below I plan on trying both with fresh and dried leaves. I am buying the peanut butter today.



  1. The flower you are showing and the beans in your hand also look like the "yard long beans" and/or asparagus beans that I am growing for the first time. Are they they same thing or of the same family? I've got more beans than I can eat, am freezing some, and like them way more than regular green beans. Perfect for hot, summer growing!

  2. Yes Cora, yard long beans are a subspecies of V. unguiculata though the name escapes me right now, and the leaves and blooms are just as edible. I agree...few crops are better suited for our hot humid summers! John

  3. I wonder what a 500 gramme of leaves comes to, and are they talking about dried leaves to make this???? Leaves I have!!!!

  4. So I looked it up, and if I'm right, they are talking about a pound of tomatoes and a pound of DRIED leaves????? Then a cup of peanut butter. INTERESTING!!!!!

  5. I never measure when I cook, so I will just try differing proportions and see what happens. Plus I want to try a variant with hot peppers in it.