Down Home Southern Cooking with Ionized Water

Down Home Southern Cooking with Ionized Water

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but down here in the South, the “New Year’s Day” tradition is black-eyed peas and collard greens – usually served with cornbread or cracklin’ bread and ham or fried chicken or (in my family) both – with home-made banana pudding for dessert.

This year I decided to use ionized water to prepare these traditional southern dishes and what a difference it made!  Cooking with ionized water made all the difference – by far my best batch yet.

Using both alkaline and acidic water during prep and cooking enhanced the flavor, texture – and actually cut the cooking time for the collard greens significantly.

The Tradition

I grew up hearing that on New Year’s day you were supposed to eat these for luck and money – every black-eyed pea you ate was supposed to represent one day of good luck and eating the greens was supposed to bring you money.

On New Year’s Day, when I was growing up, we’d all head over to my grandmother’s house for black-eyed peas, collard greens, cracklin’ bread, ham, fried chicken and potato salad.  With that kind of menu I guess we all needed as much luck as we could get to avoid a coronary episode!  But it was a once a year tradition and we all enjoyed Grandma’s cooking with no heart attacks, no 911 calls, no need for anyone in the family to practice their CPR training.

Ionized Spin on the Traditional Meal

This year, my water ionizer pulled heavy duty on New Year’s Day.  I used it to clean the fresh greens and peas and then for cooking as well.  Here’s how I used both alkaline and acidic ionized water for prep and cooking:

Collards

  • Started with about 3lbs of fresh collards that were still attached to the stalk
  • Plugged my sink and set my unit to produce strong alkaline water, around 11pH, to fill the sink  (placed acid drain hose in a large pot to use later)
  • Stripped the leaves from the stems (I always remove the center stem that runs up the leaf) and dropped them in the sink while it was filling with alkaline water.

About the time all of the leaves had been stripped from the stems, the sink was full enough to provide a good wash for the greens

  • Stirred the greens around in the sink full of alkaline water to rinse/remove dirt, pesticides and other undesirable stuff.
  • Pulled the greens to the side and let the sink drain, then refilled the sink with strong alkaline water for a second alkaline rinse
  • Transferred the greens from the sink to a huge pot, handful at a time, tearing the leaves into smaller pieces as I put them into the pot
  • Let the rinse water go down the drain
  • Added strong alkaline water (around 11pH) to the pot full ‘o greens, brought it to a boil then reduced the heat to simmer, adding salt to taste.

Usually it takes 4 to 6 hours for those thick leaves to become tender and any bitterness to cook away.  This time it only took about 2 hours.  The greens were tender but not mushy or falling apart and the flavor was incredible!

Black-eyed Peas

  • Started with 2lbs of fresh-frozen peas
  • Dumped them in a bowl and covered them with strong alkaline water – around 11.0
  • Stirred them around to rinse
  • Drained using a collander
  • Repeated the alkaline rinse/drain.
  • Once they were well drained the went into a large pot

Remember the acidic water that I was saving from the collard greens prep?  Here’s where it comes in…

  • Covered the peas with acidic water – filling the cooking pot until the acidic water was about an inch above the black-eyed peas.
  • Brought them to a boil and reduced the heat to simmer for just over an hour.

In the past it seemed like my black-eyed peas were always “mushy.”  This time I had to keep checking to ensure they were really done!  They never lost their shape or color.  And while fresh or fresh frozen will always cook faster than dried, this batch seemed to cook in record time.

The color, flavor and texture of both the black-eyed peas and the greens were incredible.  Definitely my best batch ever.

Has anyone else out there tried this?  Or used ionized water for preparing any other favorite recipes?  Let me know!  I’d love to hear from you and share your recipes here on the site!