How To Pick and Freeze Peas

We are now on our second picking of peas (bar the sneaky snack or two) but we want to rewind the clock back a fortnight when we picked our first lot on a warm day to share with you how to pick peas and freeze them. Now, you may be thinking, 'I can get peas in the frozen aisle at the supermarket, so what's the point?' Well, the point is simple, growing, eating and freezing your own peas creates a feeling of self worth and achievement, it has a massive impact on your well-being, and mental health. This is something you sowed and something you harvested, and something you could be eating in the dead of winter. Yes, we are talking a high level of smugness. Joking aside, I want you to go in the freezer aisle next time and see what variety of pea is available. Frozen peas are great, they lock in all the nutritional value but they tend to be the same variety, a pea that crops fast, freezes easily, avoids pest and disease. Now, living the #goodlife is about taste as much as it is about growing, and a fresh pea out of a pod will have the most hardened sugar addict asking for more. There is a sweetness about fresh peas that is unlike anything you will find in the freezer aisle. However, there are only so many peas you can eat and freezing your own peas is like having a little part of summer with you in the darkest days of winter. It makes you smile and that is great for your and my well-being.

Child picking peas

The picking of peas is relatively easy. You want pods that are pencil thick, basically full pods that have not gone leathery (best save these for seed). It's then a two handed matter. One hand to hold the vine and the other to take the pod, a gentle tug will take away the pod from the plant but without steadying the vine you could take the whole plant with some pods; some pods don't want to leave home.

 Peas and eggs

It's then a matter of filling a basket. Unfortunately eggs do not grow beside peas, but chickens do love the spent pods as does your compost heap or brown waste recycle bin (the bin you put your scrap food in and lawn cuttings). 

Shelling peas

Peas

Then it's all about the shelling, which is rather therapeutic unless you find a pea moth and then you will find maggots but some varieties don't fall foul to this. A lot of the heritage varieties don't seem to attract the moth like modern varieties, maybe like birds and milk bottles, the moth has forgotten the taste of old varieties and not passed it down to its brood. Freezing couldn't be easier, get a pan of water on the boil as you shell the peas, place the peas in the boiling water for ninety seconds and then into a bowl of cold water (and we mean cold, add ice unless your water is like ours which is piped out of a glacier), drain and pop on a baking tray in the freezer until frozen and then bag up. Why the tray? Placing them on a tray stops clumping and makes them easier to bag up. Why boil them quickly? To kill any disease. Why put them in cold water? So they stay green or else if you allow them to cool gradually the sugars will break down and you'll have grey peas. Finally, that person who is still drawn to the peas in the supermarket, I want to tell you how long all this took. From plot to freezer was 8 minutes, 32 seconds. Our food miles were, 40 feet. Our carbon output was, zero. Now, consider that packet of frozen peas and they're carbon footprint and how far they have travelled, and how last time they went up by 6p and you're not going to keep buying them if they go up again. How much did my peas cost? Each plant was around 7p, with six in the ground, a cost of 42p for a pound of peas in my freezer. Can I be really smug now?


Homemade frozen peas


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