Pass me a pea Shoot please!

[orginally posted April 13th 2021]

We bought some pea shoots to go into the boxes in Jan/Feb and got some brilliant feedback from customers saying how much they enjoyed them. And we loved them too. So Chris scratched his head and had a cup of tea (of course) and made a plan to start growing our own. So we’ve now constantly got a couple of tubs of pea shoots on the go.

My feeling though is that they are a bit of an odd one – if I hadn’t had them in the box and ben forced to use them I’m not sure I would have realised they are as good (and useful) as they are. I don’t think they necessarily sell themselves that well. And if you don’t have them I’m not sure you’d miss them – although now we’re in the habit of having a constant supply I actually think I would.

So I thought it was a time to shine a little light onto these micro greens in the hope I might get a few more people to join us in our pea shoot obsession. We’ll be selling them in the shop regularly over coming weeks, and if you buy them we’ll just grow more! 😉

So, what are they exactly? Pea shoots are immature plants that are grown in soil. The stems and leaves are harvested after the true leaves have emerged and the plants are several inches tall. Pea shoots are ready to eat in about two to three weeks.

Do they taste like peas? A little. One website says ‘Pea shoots have a subtle pea flavor and a light and crunchy texture’ which is pretty much how we’d describe them.

How do you harvest them? Cut the leaves off as low down the stalk as possible – the stalks are lovely and tender. Don’t eat the peas themselves. The leaves don’t re-grow once you’ve cut them off – as much as they look like they might.

How do you eat/use them? In about 100+ ways! Probably easier to ask how you can’t use them than how you can. Try…Raw in a salad or in sandwiches (like cress). In stir fries – like this recipe. In pesto. Sprinkled on top of risottos, pasta, stews, soups… the list goes on. There’s a lovely simple pasta recipe here with lemon and pea shoots. The Riverford website says ‘Toss in salads, wilt into hot dishes or whizz into green smoothies. We like them best piled high on sourdough toast with ribbons of griddled courgette, feta and a squeeze of lemon.’

What do the people in the know say about them? Nigel Slater has a few fancy recipes here and says he predicted about 10 years ago they would soon be available in the supermarket (which they were).

What was that joke again about a panda eating shoots (or – eating, shoots)? A panda walks into a bar. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

“Why? Why are you behaving in this strange, un-panda-like fashion?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda walks towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“I’m a panda,” he says, at the door. “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

“Panda: Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

You’ve inspired me, where do I get my hands on some? In our shop on a Friday morning! We can’t grow enough to put into the boxes unfortunately but may buy more in the future from suppliers who can grow in bigger quantities.

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