Last year I wrote this article on English Peas and I thought I would share it with you since Easter and peas seem to go together. I hope everyone has a wonderful day and enjoy the bounties of this wonderful state we live in. From our farm to your table, ENJOY!
As I drove down the driveway at the ranch in mid-February I stopped the car, grabbed my phone, also known as my camera, and headed out to a field of English Peas. The weather is insanely beautiful and the plants have started blooming which means we should have peas by the end of March. Excited I started snapping pictures then immediately uploading them to our Facebook page. English Peas, YEAH! Nothing says spring more than the sweet taste of English Peas also known as Garden Peas, Shelling Peas and Pod Peas. This delicious cylindrical vegetable grows protected within a cozy yet totally inedible pod unlike the sugar snap and snow peas which are completely edible. No need for waste though, once you have shelled your peas toss those pods into a stock pot and make some delicious vegetable stock or you could feed them to the chickens or goats but not the cats and dogs.
Remember when shopping for English peas one pound of peas will yield about one cup of shelled peas. Look for pods that are plump, firm, shiny and brightly colored. If you don’t intend to use the peas’ right away keep them in their pods and store in a perforated bag in the coolest part of the refrigerator for up to three days. As with all fruits and vegetables peas’ will start to lose their flavor once they are picked. Peas are a sweet yet starchy vegetable and once picked the sugar starts to turn into starch. This also occurs when the pod has stayed on the plant too long and the peas have lost their sugar.
Peas can be eaten raw, we like to call them natures’ candy and our oldest grandson Bryce can’t get enough of them. A quick blanch in salted boiling water and tossed with a little butter is simple and delicious. When adding English Peas to a recipe remember to toss them in at the end to ensure their flavor shines through. Never over cook peas they’ll lose the sugar and gain the starch.
English Peas are a cool weather crop and have two seasons, March through May and August to November. Although summer isn’t the optimal climate to grow peas Swank Farms always has plantings bridging the two seasons. The plants may not like the heat but they still produce good peas and our customers are happy. If you are not a fan of shelling peas we sell shelled peas at the farmers markets, watch the video and see how we do it.