We have had 2 good pickings of peas so far. I grow Maestro bush shelling peas. This year, I got them planted in March and now they are ripe. They like cooler, wetter weather, so I’m glad I got them in when I did.
The first picking was smaller, and I filled 4 baggies. I use quart-sized Ziplock bags and fill them so they lay flat in a larger freezer bag. There is no where near a quart of peas in each bag because we use much less than that amount each time. I also want them flat so I can break off a chunk when I only use a very few peas for something without thawing the entire baggie.
Yesterday, I filled a small bucket, a large Tupperware bowl, and then grabbed 2 plastic flowerpots from the planting table and filled those, too. Rob and I both shelled until we needed to go to a grad party, then put the rest on ice to wait until that evening when we were home again.
Rob ended up shelling out all the rest himself because I got caught up in another project. Then, I dumped them in a pot of boiling water to blanch them and set the timer for 3 minutes. After that time passed, I fished the peas out with a hand-held strainer and put them into cold water to begin cooling immediately. After they were cool, I put them in 1 quart Ziplocks.
We got 9 baggies this time, bringing us up to 13 so far. In a couple of days, there will be another picking, but it will be smaller again. We will then be ready to pull the bushes, enrich the soil and plant some late summer and fall crops in their place. Pea plants are a legume and fix nitrogen into the soil. We still feel we need a little more compost in the area when we plant a second crop.
Last year, I planted fall broccoli and cabbage where the peas were. I think I will do some more of those a little later in the summer, but may add lettuce, snow peas and possiblybeets or carrots, if I find I need them.
I’m delighted to have this project well onto its way. It’s very time-consuming, but the finished product is very, very tasty and good. I already have more peas frozen then I did last year altogether because there are more peas in each baggie and I’m getting more baggies. So, of course, that makes me happy with my yield.
I never stop anyone from eating peas, and if we run out, I’ll buy a bag at the store. But, that being said, most years we have enough with what we grow. We don’t use very many in a year.
I like to put them in tuna-noodle and turkey-noodle casseroles. Sometimes I pop a few into a soup or stew to brighten it up. We occasionally eat some in a pile on our plate, but that’s more rare for us. There are a couple of other recipes I add a few peas to, but I can’t remember them right now. No matter. When I do remember, I will have some peas to put in those dishes.