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black-eyed pea

Originating in Asia, the black-eyed pea is thought to have been introduced to the United States through the African slave trade. This small beige bean has a black circular "eye" at its inner curve. It can be purchased fresh or dried. Though originally cultivated for animal fodder, black-eyed peas are now a popular legume (particularly in the South) and are essential in the traditional dish hoppin' john. Also called cowpea and, if the "eye" is yellow, yellow-eyed pea.