How to Can Purple Hull Peas

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Perserve your purple hull peas by canning them in jars.
Perserve your purple hull peas by canning them in jars. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

As members of the cow pea family, purple hull peas are relatives of black-eyed peas. Originally from Africa, purple hull peas probably made their way to the United States via the slave trade. Initially food for slaves and livestock, purple hull peas eventually became a staple food in the South. Emerson, Arkansas, celebrates the legume each summer by holding a purple hull pea festival. Plant purple hull peas in your vegetable garden and preserve a batch to enjoy in your favorite recipes.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • Large pot
  • Jars
  • Lids and rings
  • Dishtowels
  • Salt
  • Pressure canner
  • Salt
  • Ladle
  • Jar tongs
  • Cutting board or baker's rack

Preparation

Shell the purple hull peas by snapping off the ends and popping open the hull. Remove the peas and put them into a bowl. Rinse the peas under running water and set them aside. Use about 1 pound of peas per pint jar, or 2 pounds per quart jar.

Clean the jars, lids and rings in hot water. Run the jars through the dishwater or boil them in a large pot of water for 10 minutes. Place the lids and rings into boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove them from the water and place them on a dishtowel to drain.

Boil enough water in a large pot to cover the peas in all of your jars.

Place the jar rack that came with your pressure canner into the canner. The rack keeps the jars from touching the bottom of the canner and breaking under pressure. Add a few inches of water to your pressure canner, following the manufacturer’s directions. Warm the water on low heat while you prepare your peas for canning.

Fill the jars with peas, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace for expansion in pint jars and 1 inch of headspace in quart jars. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to pint jars or 1 teaspoon to quart jars, if desired. Pour boiling water from the large pot over the peas and into the jars using a ladle. Allow the same amount of headspace per jar for the water as you did with the peas.

Wipe off the rims of the jars with a clean dishtowel. Place lids on the jars and secure with the jar rings. Screw on the rings so they are snug but not overly tight. Place the dishtowel over the rings when screwing them onto the jars if they are too hot to handle with bare hands.

Canning

Place the jars onto the rack in the pressure canner using jar tongs to lift and lower them into the water. Secure the lid on the canner following the manufacturer’s directions; do not put on the weight or open the valve. Bring the water in the pressure canner to a boil over high heat and allow it to vent a steady stream of steam for 10 minutes. Place the weight on the canner or close the valve.

Begin timing the process when the pressure on the canner reaches 10 pounds. Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain steady pressure. Process the jars for 30 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts.

Remove the canner from the heat and allow it to cool; do not remove the weight or open the valve. When the pressure gauge safely drops to zero, remove the weight or open the valve to release any remaining steam. Remove the lid from the canner.

Use the jar tongs to lift the jars from the canner. Place them on a towel, cutting board or baker’s rack to cool completely.

Verify that all jars properly sealed by pressing the center of the lid with your finger. If the lid gives under pressure or pops, then it is not sealed. Refrigerate any unsealed jars and use the peas within one week. Store properly sealed jars in a cool dark area for up to one year.

Tips & Warnings

  • After shelling purple hull peas, add the discarded hulls to your compost bin.
  • Do not cook the peas before canning them or they may become mushy.
  • In some cases, cooling the jars after canning may take up to 24 hours.
  • Do not can purple hull peas using a water-bath canner. Only pressure canners are considered safe for canning low-acid foods.

References

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