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Posts Tagged ‘Pegi Costantino gardening columnist on Blogfinger’

Garden peas. Photo by Pegi Costantino. June 1, 2020. ©. Special to Blogfinger.net

 

By Pegi Costantino, Ocean Grove.  Gardening columnist on Blogfinger.net.   See her bio in our “About” section above.

Garden peas, any kind, are wonderful but the “English Peas” or shelling peas are a lot of work for not much return.  The shell is the actual fruit and the pea is the seed.

After an hour of shelling the pile of shells is enormous and the pitiful bowl of peas hardly seems worth all the effort. Snow peas are a giant step forward.  You eat pod and all.  They are picked when the pod is still flat.  The peas are in there but they are young and tender.  These are the peas of Chinese food, stir fried and part of any mixed vegetable dish.  Eat them raw in a salad, steamed or just munch on them as a snack.

While snow peas are good, and easy to prepare, they pale next to the magnificent Snap Pea.  Planted on official pea planting day, March 17, Snap Peas germinate in cold wet soil.  Not many things will burst into life under those conditions.  Most seeds look for temps around 80 degrees.  Heat mats sometimes are required to coax the insipient plant to wake up. Not peas.  We are still in boots and mittens and peas are popping up in all their glory.

By now the plants are in full bloom and quite beautiful which means peas are right around the corner.  Sugar Snap Peas are one of the first varieties available and still my favorite.  They can reach six feet in a good season and will bear heavily until the weather gets hot.  Yank them off and eat them still warm from the sun. Pick them flat or wait until the pods fill out a bit and the sugar content soars.  Let the pods really fill out and you can shell them.  The best of all possible worlds.

I had a dog, Zinnia, that used to go to the pea patch for a snack.  She would pull them off herself.  Lucky for us she was short and couldn’t reach most of them. Raw or cooked they are equally delicious. But my absolute favorite way to eat them is raw in a peas and cheese sandwich on a toasted English muffin.  Mayonnaise and Janes Crazy Mixed Up Salt complete this seasonal delight.  You just have to squeeze the sandwich pretty tight or the pea pods shoot out from the slippery mayo.  I’ll be dreaming about these tonight.

 

 

BENNY GOODMAN:

 

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