Sunday, June 28, 2009
We've been enjoying fresh peas for the past week. I adore fresh peas! And it seems like there's never enough peas, no matter how much I plant. Fresh peas are an entirely different breed of cat than those nasty, mushy, canned things we were served frequently in the school cafeteria. If those are the only peas a person has ever had, it's no wonder folks hate peas!
Years ago (close to 30!) when we were first married and living in Anderson, Indiana, our little neighbor boy, who was three years old at the time, would often come over to visit us from across the street. One day I was working in my garden behind the house, and I asked him if he liked peas. "NO!" was his answer. I told him my peas tasted like candy and talked him into trying one, fresh-picked and raw. He loved them! I was told by his folks years later, that he still talks about his introduction to fresh peas, and still eats fresh peas.
I've got several beds of peas growing this year. I planted a long row of them along the fence that keeps the dogs in our backyard. These peas are looking wonderful, and amazingly, they haven't been touched by the resident groundhogs. The peas that are growing closer to the groundhog hole seem to disappear at an alarming rate, yet I'm still able to get a few peas from those beds.
Something I've been doing the last few years is to grow peas for sprouts, which make a delicious addition to salads and stir fries. I read somewhere that the best peas for sprouts were "dwarf gray sugar snap" peas. I've been planting these the past few years and the sprouts are very tasty. I plant a row of peas fairly close together, and when they're a couple inches high I take the scissors to them and cut them off, leaving about a half inch of stem. They re-grow, at which time you can cut them off again. You can continue doing this, (also called "cut and come again"), or you can let them grow and produce peas after a few cuttings.
One of my favorite ways to fix peas is to make fresh pea soup. So very easy, and so tasty. It can be harty fare, or it can be very elegant, all decked out with cute little flowers for a garnish.