These greenish-beige pods with cranberry speckling—and the similarly patterned beans within—are as spectacular to look at as they are to eat. Usually showing up at farmers’ markets at the end of June, the beans have a nutty flavor that’s ideal in a summer salad. For a more indulgent dish, simmer the shelled beans for thirty minutes, then mash and combine with a mixture of sautéed garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Add herbs, a beaten egg, a dash of cayenne, and a touch of flour. Form into patties and panfry.
Zipper Cream Peas
(aka White Crowder Peas)
Possibly the easiest field pea to prepare, this variety is named for the handy string that you pull to get at the goodness inside the pod. A cross between a crowder pea and a cream pea, it has a rich, earthy flavor and creamy flesh. For a simple prep, grab a few handfuls, unzip, and simmer the peas until tender (spooning off the foam that rises to the top). Combine with bits of bacon, a pat of butter, salt, and pepper. Serve over rice or with cornbread.