Monday, April 25, 2011

4/25 Harvest - Pea Shoots

Our peas are growing well enough that I felt that it would be safe to harvest some young pea shoots this weekend.  This would have been totally unthinkable last year, when what few pea seedlings I had constantly struggled against the hot weather (in both spring and fall!), cutworms and bunny attacks. 

Since this was my first time harvesting pea shoots, I wanted to be careful, just in case it somehow negatively affected the future growth of these plants.  I am, after all, growing them more for peas and not for shoots.  For this trial run, I snipped off the top 3-4 inches of just a few plants.  I'll go back and inspect the cut plants next week and see if they are still continuing to grow and branching off from leaf nodes below the cut tip, like they are supposed to.

I also snipped off some overwintered basil to make pizza and breadsticks (garlic basil).  Basil grew fast and furious in our garden last year to a point where I got tired of harvesting and processing it.  But having (far) less of it this winter has made me appreciate it more in the kitchen. 

I forgot to take pictures of the finished products, but here is one picture of my first attempt at garlic basil breadsticks just before they were popped in the oven.  They turned out pretty tasty, although I think I will try upping the amount of both garlic and basil next time.

Check out Harvest Monday to see what other gardeners are harvesting!


Daphne said...

I might try some pea shoots when my plants are a bit taller. At just an inch or two they are too short to snip yet. But I have a lot of peas. A while 16' x 1' row of them of different kinds. That is way more than I can eat. Though I'm sure my townhouse mates would love to have some peas too. So if it slows them down a bit it won't matter. I'll just do like you did. A bit here and there. I might even do them in sections and see if I can figure out if they are really much later or less prolific in peas that way.

villager said...

You got fresh basil up there? I'm green with envy! I have basil seedlings, but that's it. No pea shoots here either. Yours look great!

thyme2garden said...

Daphne - I like your scientific proposal! Let us know how it works out!

Villager - Thank you! I overwintered a few basil plants in our grow box, where they lived happily until I almost killed them with neglect. With more regular watering, they came back to life. I took one plant out of the grow box about a month ago (to make room for new tomato/pepper seedlings) and it's just been sitting inside. It looks a little scraggly, but it's still alive! I'll probably retire these year-old plants when it's warm enough to transplant out my new basil seedlings.

balblo said...

Would you like to share the recipe for the breadsticks? I'd appeciate it, it's a pretty good idea to use basil! Might go well with sour cream dip with herbs from your garden. How did you like the pea shoots?

~Holly~ said...

I look forward to hearing how your snipped pea plants fare. I love pea shoots with a little garlic and oil. Delicious!! If your experiment turns out, I may snip a few of my plants when they're bigger. Right now, now so much. They're little! LOL!

Robin said...

I have never snipped any of my pea plants for shoots since I never had that many. Maybe I'll try it this year

Sherry said...

Glad to hear your peas are growing well enough for you to harvest some pea shoots this year. They are YUM! Enjoy!

RandomGardener said...

I think we both planted peas at the same time, mine are starting their first true leaves now (: Weather hasn't been great so far, but it is raining today, so hopefully they will grow fast.

Dan Owen said...

I hate to show my ignorance, but I never knew that pea shoots were edible. I'm now curios as to what they taste like and how they could be used in a recipe. Thanks for the informative post!

Jody said...

I'm with everyone else who is interesting you peas. What a great idea. How do they taste? We have a 30 foot row that I'm sure wouldn't mind sharing a few leaves.

The Idiot Gardener said...

Interestingly, I had been debating whether to grow peas just for shoots. I was recommended using dried peas rather than seeds. Any thoughts?

thyme2garden said...

balblo - the garlic basil breadstick recipe was something simple I found on the internet (, I think) and tweaked a little:

1 1/8 cup warm water
2 teasp active dry yeast
2T sugar (or honey)

mix together and let stand for about 10 minutes. Add the mixture to a bigger bowl containing:

2T olive oil
3-4T grated parmesan cheese (I eyeballed)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 teasp salt
1 teasp minced fresh basil (I eyeballed this, too)
3 cups breaf flour

Knead everything (I did it by hand because I don't have a stand mixer) for about 10 minutes until smooth. Divide into 20 equal portions (I ended up with 19 portions, each about 1.5 oz). Shape each portion into a ball and roll it into a 8 inch rope. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 min or until doubled (I left it for about 1 hr). Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 min or until golden brown.

I like your idea of making sour cream (or any other kind) dip with garden herbs to go with these!

thyme2garden said...

To everyone who asked about the taste/flavor of pea shoots:

I had read on the internet that you can eat young pea shoots raw tossed in a salad, or saute it quickly. I tried the latter version in a little bit of butter. In retrospect, I should have used olive oil instead - I don't know what I was thinking with butter! I also got distracted and sprinkled a little too much salt while cooking, so it ended up being too salty for my taste.

That said, I could still appreciate the delicate flavor of pea shoots quickly sauteed (1-2 minutes max). They tasted a bit like skinny (like 2-dimensional) version of mild sugar snap peas. Next time, I'll try the saute method in a little bit of olive oil and maybe garlic (like Holly suggested) and skip the salt.

I would also like to try them raw in a salad - I think they will add a nice flavor.

thyme2garden said...

Holly - I'll let you know how it turns out!

Robin - if you have enough to spare, you should! And if it turns out that snipped peas still grow well, then you don't even have to spare any!

Sherry - I'm looking forward to being able to harvest a bit more to enjoy more!

RandomGardener - we've been getting almost nonstop rain in Indiana the last couple of weeks, too. I'm hoping this is doing more good than bad for the garden.

Dan Owen - don't feel bad, I only learned about pea shoot edibleness from reading garden blogs last year. I'm glad to be able to pass on the knowledge to others!

Jody - they tasted good, somewhat similar to sugar snap peas themselves but with less sweet flavor (see my previous comment). With a 30 foot row, surely you can spare a few plants. :-)

TIG - I have read some people doing just that, growing peas just for their young shoots. I believe they sow them a lot closer to each other. I'm not understanding what you mean by "using dried peas rather than seeds." I thought that the pea "seeds" we planted were the same thing as "dried peas"?? Can you clarify?

Corner Gardener Sue said...

The rabbits ate most of my pea shoots before we got the chicken wire up. Maybe they will get bushy now that they are not being eaten, and I will be able to harvest some before the peas develop.

Barbie said...

Even unbaked your breadsticks look yummy! THen again I am a carb addict and any bread is delish. :-D

Love the new fence, too!

balblo said...

Thanks for the recipe, I'll try it as soon as we get some basil or maybe rosemary!

thyme2garden said...

Sue - I hope your peas recover from the rabbit damage! I got so mad last year when I found out that the rabbits were eating my greens. Now I can sleep in peace knowing that they can't get in!

Barbie - I love bread, too!

balblo - you're welcome! Ohh, rosemary would be delicious, too!

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