Field peas are a type of Southern pea and are actually legumes. They have a long history in the South as a replacement for more expensive meat because they are high in protein and other nutrients. The most common method of cooking field peas is by boiling them with some sort of pork. Fresh field peas with snaps are more flavorful than dried peas, but both taste delicious and are simple to cook. Serve over rice, greens or eat them plain.
Prepare dried peas by placing them in a large pot, covering them with water and boiling them for one minute.
Remove the pot from the heat source, cover it and let it stand for one hour. This will soften the peas.
Drain the peas well and set them aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a medium pot and then toss in the cubed ham. Brown the pork in the oil.
Add the field peas, vegetable broth, pepper, garlic, onion and any other seasonings to the pot.
Cover the pot and simmer for about one hour, or until the peas are tender. Serve hot.
Shell fresh field peas by rinsing them in cold water, pulling apart the pods, and gently scooping the peas into a bowl or other container. Add water to the bowl and swish the peas around to remove sand and debris. Drain before cooking.
The "snaps" are simply broken immature pea pods.