Peas of mind … all you ever wanted to know about peas
We’re all so familiar with the convenience of frozen peas that sometimes we forget that they are a fresh product that comes into its prime in summer.
In Tasmania peas are planted in late winter or spring ready for harvesting in early summer. They require a trellis or support to grow on and particularly like a constantly moist, but not waterlogged soil. If you’re growing peas at home make sure you harvest them regularly as the more you pick, the more they will produce. Green garden peas are best picked when young with a shell that is nice and plump. Harvesting them young will give you the sweetest and most tender peas because shells that are left on the plant for too long convert the sugars to starch, resulting in a tougher pea with less flavour.
When buying shelling peas look for firm, rounded pods that are green and unblemished. If you shake a pod it should rattle a little. To shell fresh peas, pull down on the stem to string it and then gently push out the peas with your thumb. Fresh peas are delicious eaten straight from the shell but for cooking you should blanche them before serving. You can keep the pods to use in a stock for a lovely fresh flavour.