I am not sure when it happened but nowadays it is rare to be served rice and peas cooked with gungo peas or pigeon peas as a they are also known. They are seasonal and come fresh in December. During the rest of the year they are available canned (like these) or frozen. They are sometimes available dried but they are so hard to come by. Most give up and turn to a different type of peas.
If like me, you only occasionally eat rice and pea the odd canned ingredient is fine. I prefer to go this route as the popular bean that tends to always get served with rice has an unusual effect on my digestive system. They cause me to bloat and often cause a pain. I used to blame it on the rice and so switched to brown rice. Nothing changed. Then I remembered when my grandmother used to eat rice and peas cooked with kidney beans she routinely left the red beans or peas on the side of her plate. When I asked her about this she told me that they needed to be soaked over night to remove the toxin called lectin. If you forgot to do this you could get around the problem by cooking them for longer or using a pressure cooker. She told me that both alternative methods were unsafe. I always check that they have been prepared properly or travel with a tin of gungo peas instead. After all they are more authentic and traditional in Jamaican cuisine.
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Gungo Peas, Water, Salt
Store in a cool dry place. Once opened transfer to a suitable non-metallic container, cover and keep refrigerated. Consume within 2 days
Produced in Jamaica
Name and address
Net Contents 400g
Drained Weight 240g
of which saturates
of which sugars