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When I was a child, the vegetable at dinner usually came from a can. Peas were the worse. They were mushy, ugly, and best used launched from a spoon at my brother. They were also hard to clean up from the floor when the meal was over.

This last weekend I planted two of my garden boxes, the stars of which were peas. Then because this city will not turn on the water for a couple of weeks yet, I carried water from a faucet attached to the house and a maze of yard away. Thankfully it rained yesterday, but today I will be back to hauling water. This dedication to growing peas is a testament to how far I’ve come from the days when I hid them under my plate. But then, I don’t buy them in cans.

Peas from my garden tend to get eaten as they ripen. It is dubious if any will survive to be frozen because there is nothing quite like fresh peas. As a young girl, I was amazed the first time I had them fresh from a pod. I couldn’t reconcile the crisp, brilliantly colored spheres that tasted like spring and growing things as being the same vegetable as the limp, winter dinner nemesis.

I like fresh peas in a green salad. While still in the pod, they make a great snack on a hike. I love fresh pea soup. This recipe is a brilliant green color and tastes fantastic. I got it years ago from a recipe book by the iconic Ann Wigmore (there’s no cooking).

Fresh Pea Soup

1 C. fresh garden peas (frozen will work)

1 C. almond or cashew milk (put nuts in blender to just below the 1 C. line, add water and blend.)

½ C. carrot juice (I juice my own or buy raw carrot juice at Costco when they have it.)

½ C. diced avocado

1 tsp. seasoning (no salt variety)

1 tsp. tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos

Add all ingredients to blender; blend until creamy. Perfect for a light summer meal starter.

While I’m at it, here’s a pesto recipe with a twist:

Pea Pesto

1 C. peas (if frozen, thaw)

1-2 cloves garlic

½ C. walnuts (or pine nuts if you have some)

½ C. grated parmesan

1/3 C. olive oil.

In a food processor, chop garlic then add peas, nuts and cheese. Blend well and slowly add oil. Season with freshly ground pepper. Serve over hot pasta with sun dried tomato crumbles.

Peas pair well with potatoes; they are great added to many dishes (add at the end so they don’t over-cook): stir fry, veggie soup, and pasta salads. I usually keep a restaurant size bag in my freezer.

Have you planted your peas yet?