Cow Pea

Cowpea is mainly cultivated in Africa, Asia, Europe, United States and Central and South America. Homeland of cowpeas is Southern Africa which later moved to East and West Africa and Asia. This is a food and animal feed crop. It is assumed that name “cowpea” was derived because it was an important livestock feed for cows in the U.S. 85% sand with less than 0.2% organic matter and low level of phosphorus is best composition for this crop to grow. Generally this is well adapted in drier regions where other food legumes do not perform well.  In South America, it is known as black eyed peas and it is a very common food ingredient.
Scientific Classification of Cow pea

Species:V. unguiculata
Binomial nameVigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.

Varieties of Cow Pea

Cowpeas varieties depends upon its bean shape, size and color.
  1. Black-eyed or pink-eyed/purple hull peas
    These white colored seeds have black, pink or purple eye like shape around the hilum. Seeds are not tightly packed or crowded in the pod and are kidney shaped or oblong.
  2. Brown-eyed peas
    These types of cowpeas have green to lavender colored pods. When immature seeds of this type are cooked, it has very tender and a delicate flavor.
  3. Crowder peas
    As the name suggests, this type of cowpeas are “crowded” in the pod and have seed of black, speckled and brown eyed.
  4. Cream peas
    Seeds are cream colored. This type of seeds looks like intermediate between the black-eyed and Crowder types.
  5. White acre type
    Seeds are kidney-shaped with a blunt end, semi crowded and generally tan in color.
  6. Clay types
    These older varieties are medium to dark brown in color and kidney- shaped, but are rarely grown

Nutrition Fact

Calories 116Calories from fat 6
Total fat 1g1%
Saturated fat 0g1%
Trans fat
Cholesteratol 0 mg0%
Sodium 4 mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 21 g7%
Dietary fiber 6g26%
Sugar 3g
Protein 8g
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 2%

Percent daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Caloric Ratio of Cowpea


Usage in daily life

Cowpeas are used as vegetable and as a grain also. Dried pulses are cooked with vegetables to make a thick soup.  In Tamilnadu and Kerala state of India cake like dish called kozhukattai is made from cowpeas.  Srilankan people used cowpeas in many different ways and famous way is with coconut milk while in Turkey cowpea is boiled covered with olive oil, salt, thyme and garlic sauce and eaten as an appetizer.


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