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
|Binomial name||Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.|
Varieties of Cow Pea
Cowpeas varieties depends upon its bean shape, size and color.
- 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.
- 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.
- Crowder peas
As the name suggests, this type of cowpeas are “crowded” in the pod and have seed of black, speckled and brown eyed.
- Cream peas
Seeds are cream colored. This type of seeds looks like intermediate between the black-eyed and Crowder types.
- White acre type
Seeds are kidney-shaped with a blunt end, semi crowded and generally tan in color.
- Clay types
These older varieties are medium to dark brown in color and kidney- shaped, but are rarely grown
|Calories 116||Calories from fat 6|
|Total fat 1g||1%|
|Saturated fat 0g||1%|
|Cholesteratol 0 mg||0%|
|Sodium 4 mg||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 21 g||7%|
|Dietary fiber 6g||26%|
|Vitamin A 0%||Vitamin C 1%|
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.