Our garden is flourishing, especially the pea plants. We planted two kinds; the ones you shell, and the ones that are just nice crunchy pea pods with tiny little peas inside.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, ALL of them are bursting with peas at once! I spent the better part of the morning picking loads of them from just two rows. There are still loads of them to harvest.
I found two great recipes for peas, one of which I made last night. (*See recipe below if you want to try it out.) Fortunately, you can freeze peas; just pull off the top cap which is attached to that tough “string” along the side of the pod; just yank them both right out. To freeze them, wash them, then spread them out on a paper towel to dry. (You can of course blanch them first, and then freeze them, but I’m much too lazy to do that.) When dry, put them in a zip bag and toss them in the freezer.
There is something zen-like about harvesting produce from your own garden. Just seeing those lovely jade pods, hanging on their curly tendrils like fabulous jewels in Aladdin’s den, is beautiful and soothing. Add to that the chorus from our backyard cardinals, and the moment is perfect.
While the Crankee Yankee is the one who readies the eight raised beds for planting, does most of the planting and weeding (I do help from time to time), my favorite part is the picking. It’s a little miracle; you put some seeds (or seedlings) into the freshly-dug earth, cover them up, keep them watered and let them soak up the sun, and before you know it—viola! You are enjoying the freshest and most delicious vegetables that you grew yourself!
Of course, we always plant too much, so whenever we can give some away, we do. Right now besides the peas, we have lettuce, radishes, beets, arugula, herbs, onions, leeks, garlic, tomatoes (which right now are little green marbles), red peppers and cukes. It is a joy and a gift to have our own “produce section”!
*Pea Pods and Peppers Recipe (From Taste of Home)
3/4 lb. shelled peas and/or pea pods
1 medium sweet red peppers, diced
1/2 small onion, sliced
1/4 t. garlic salt (add more if you prefer)
1/8 t. ground pepper
1 T. canola oil
1 T. butter
Optional: Add shrimp to this if you like. If you do, throw them in when the vegetables are tender. Shrimp, especially the small ones, don’t take long to cook; 3-4 minutes will do it.
In a large skillet, saute the peas, red peppers, onion, garlic salt and pepper in the canola oil and butter until the vegetables are tender. Makes 4 servings.
PS: I made this with the shrimp, and, right before serving, I threw in a handful of salted almonds and cashews. It was absolutely delicious—and very easy to make.