Memo to Self

Days of picking peas by the bagful, getting home and sitting down at the kitchen table and podding them by the bowlful. Blanching them in rolling , boiling water. Quickly draining the peas and plunging them into iced water. And when cooled and drained packing the green gems into containers for freezing.

I’m nearing the end of the shelling peas, but I’ll be able to enjoy them in winter in risottos, rice and pasta dishes. But while they are still young and fresh I eat them raw in salads, or cook them in butter with lettuce hearts - Petits Pois a la Francaise.

And as one job ends another starts, seed saving for next years crop. I leave the plants to dry in-situ. The pods turning a pale brown, becoming papery thin. and then it’s a waiting game so as to only store the peas when they are thoroughly dry, not a hint of moisture left in the pods.

The trick around here is to get them before the mice do. Not always easy. I’ve already lost a substantial number of the Salmon Flowered Peas - a beautiful heritage shelling pea. I should have remembered from last year, but life is in imperfect, or rather this human is imperfect. I have to accept  what I have. Whether or not I will have enough to share with others is yet to be calculated, the pods have been systematically stripped and emptied. Those mice went away with seriously bulging bellies!

I need to remember this time next year, to be more vigilant and to pull the plants up out of the ground just as the pea pods are losing their green, the pods becoming leathery and the vines are browning.To bring them home to finish drying.

Memo to self – you don’t need to feed the mice living on the allotment so generously with your precious peas!

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49 thoughts on “Memo to Self

  1. oh bad luck sharing your salmon flowered peas with the mice …. and they probably did not appreciate the special nature of their dinner :) we have trouble with rats and other things from time to time, have given up on corn because something always gets it before we do … today we started picking broad beans :D

      • Blushes!! Thank you, you don’t realise ho wencouraging those words are ! There are times when I look at the photos and think humph it’s not quite what I wanted, always too critical for my own good. But I do sometimes struggle when taking photos of the picked food – I need to get a bit more imaginative I think, besides I’m getting bored of looking at the same old bowls! And in summer I tend to take the produce outside onto the terrace as the light is so much better out there :)

    • Thank you, I do love growing peas – pretty to look at and tasty to eat :) And good luck with your crop – seed saving from beans and peas is pretty easy, especially if you don’t have to deal with mice who have the munchies !!

      • Yes, I will have a go at seed saving for the first time, thanks for the tips in your blog. Fortunately we don’t have mice at the moment though we have seen them in the garden a few years ago. I’d like to try some more fancy pod varieties like yours. Hooray for peas!

  2. It looks like you’ve gotten a great crop, and your concise description of the freezing process tells me you’ve had lots of practice at that as well! I’ve used brown lunch sacks twist-tied onto my stalks to capture seed if the drying process goes too quickly. This works for mustard and sweet peas where the pods tend to get brittle rather than leathery, and suddenly burst open, letting everything fly. I doubt that would be much of a deterrent for the mice, though. Good luck, and thanks for another lovely post!

    • That’s a great idea nd reminder about using paper bags for seed saving, I kno wwhat you mean about certain seeds, especially small ones popping and distributing themselves, thank you !
      And thanks for your encouragement and kind words Cindy :)

  3. Re: seed-saving: I can’t remember if I mentioned that my lazy seed-saving technique bore fruit: I smashed the last tomatoes from last season’s long-lived plant into the tomato bucket and now I have a large, healthy new tomato plant with its first flowers, so for the first time in years I didn’t have to buy a new tomato plant.

  4. I feel your pain…if it isn’t the four-legged furries munching on things, it’s the winged or legless…sigh. I had just enough peas for a couple of good meals, but none for the freezer.
    Green beans, however, are going to be great by the end of the week, and we’ll be in full-on blanch and freeze mode!

    • Sigh…. but your bean crop sounds good Marie, mine looks like it’s going to be pants this year. One batch of dwarf beans struggled with cool temps, slugs and wind and is looking marvellously miserable. My climbing beans have finally started to grow, but I think it’s too late, oh and one batch of climbing beans turns out to be dwarf :) And that doesn’t include the others where I’ve lost the labels !!

  5. I learn so much from you, Claire! I was just happy with myself that I purchsed my seeds from an heirloom seed company and that was a first this year. I have a long way to go in really understanding all the variables in seeds…I can’t even tell you if what is growing in my garden came from open-pollinated seeds. But the good news is that you have me tremendously interested to learn! I will spend a little time on your “seed saving” page to at least get started! Thank you! Debra

    • Debra, you are so kind ! I think we all start at different points, are looking at different things and have our own ways of going about them. I’ve gradually got into the heirloom seed thing, as usual I was late to the party :) And as I’ve started to save seeds I’ve found out about open pollinated varieties, befor ethat I was literally clueless !! and you have reminded me I really should go and tidy the seed saving pages, but I’m not doing much this year – a few peas, beans and tomatoes – I decided I needed a break !!

  6. I am learning so much from you too dear Claire, actually it doesn’t seem easy to me. Your photographs are as always amazing, loved them all. Thank you, love, nia

  7. I know what you mean, Claire. If it isn’t mice, it’s rabbits, deer, birds or, in my case, squirrels and raccoons. There will always be something waiting to for us to look away for a moment. I hope you were able to at least save enough to cover your seed needs for next year.

    • I can shorten your list by one, no Raccoons! And no I don’t want them either John :)
      It looks like I will have enough for myself, but I’m not sure if there will be many to share with others which is the biggest shame !

    • Hi Celia, the peas, along with frnech an dshelling beans are one of my bigger crops and I like to have some in winter! But I know what you mean about snacking on them while in the garden, just so tempting !!

  8. You do all the work and the mice walk away with the bulging bellies. So you ARE sharing your seeds as it turns out…I hope they were appropriately thankful – those salmon flowered peas of yours were gorgeous and a bit more than they deserved!
    (our blog is such an inspiration to a wanna be gardener like myself. Thanks for all the lovely posts that keep the dream alive!)

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