Friday 22 July 2011

Pea Preparation

Several weeks ago a few of us were able to get up to the farm, and after an evening of much needed weeding we rewarded ourselves by pick some peas. We ended up with so many peas (about a bushel and a half) that I decided to take the opportunity to bring a little over half a bushel home to freeze some so that we could have tasty peas all year round.
First you need to shuck the peas. We did this while watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 to get ready to see Part 2. I have to say that fresh peas might be a better movie snack than popcorn.

To properly prepare peas for freezing (and most other vegetables and fruit) they have to be blanched to kill the enzyme that causes the peas to lose their freshness. To blanch the peas they need to be submerged in boiling water for 90 seconds.

I put a few handfuls of peas into a metal steaming basket to contain them so that I didn’t have to chase the loose peas around with a slotted spoon in a boiling pot of water.

Once the peas had been in the boiling water for 90 seconds I dropped the basket into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.

After cooling in the first bowl of water for about 30 seconds I would dump the peas out of the basket into a second bowl of cold water. I would keep the peas here until the next batch of peas had come out of the boiling water.

The peas would then be poured into a strainer, then onto a paper towel to blot off the excess water.

(To me it looks like the peas are in the shape of North America, anyone else see that?)

Once the peas have been dried off they can be spread out on to a cookie sheet to freeze. When the peas have frozen solid they can be collected into sealable container. Freezing them this way allows the peas freeze separately, not stuck to their neighbour so you can take as many as you want to add to your meal.

I had so many peas that I had to make a second layer on both my cookie sheets with tin foil.
How do you use your peas throughout the year?

photos by Courtney Lakin

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