Fresh Food Friday Southern Black-Eyed Peas


So, what will you eat on New Year’s Day that will bring you luck for the entire year? According to, there are many traditions that recommend you eat certain foods that will bring you prosperity and luck for the new year! Here is a look at some of the traditions.

The top foods that are said to bring good luck include: black-eyed peas and cornbread, Hoppin’ John, grapes, cooked greens, fish, pork and sauerkraut, pomegranates.

Hoppin’ John is a southern dish that is said to be a symbol of financial insurance. Cooked greens are lucky because green symbolizes luck. Pork symbolizes wealth and prosperity. In Spain and Mexico, eating 12 grapes at midnight as the clock strikes once for each hour will bring you luck for the 12 months ahead.

Most Southerners will tell you that the culinary custom of eating black eyed peas dates back to the Civil War. According to, black-eyed peas were considered animal food. The peas were not deemed worthy of serving to General Sherman’s Union troops. When Union soldiers raided the Confederates’ food supplies, legend says they took everything except the peas and salted pork. The Confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with those meager supplies, and survived the winter. Peas then became symbolic of luck. They are often served with corn bread, which is a symbol of wealth with its rich yellow color. The blend of black-eyed peas and rice is said to bring good fortune in the New Year to those who eat it.

The Pomegranate has been a symbol of good luck, abundance, youth and fertility since antiquity and is part of a Greek New Year’s custom. Tradition has it that on the first day of the year a pomegranate must be broken on the door’s threshold for good luck.

Here is a simple and “lucky” recipe for black-eyed peas, to serve on New Year’s Day meal from Taste of Home.


Southern Black-eyed peas


  • 1 lb. dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 ozs. sliced salt pork belly, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T. minced fresh thyme or 1 t. dried thyme
  • 1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1 carton (32 ozs.) chicken broth
  • 2 smoked ham hocks


  • Place peas in a Dutch oven; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse peas, discarding liquid; set aside.
  • In the same pan, sauté onion in oil until tender. Add the pork belly, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, pepper flakes and pepper; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Add the broth, ham hocks and peas; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally and adding additional water if desired.
  • Discard bay leaves. Remove ham hocks; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones if desired; finely chop and return to pan.

Serve and Enjoy!


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