How to grow peas | Alys Fowler

Nothing comes close to the grassy sweetness of a pea fresh from the pod

If you have never popped open a pod straight from the bush, then forgo other plans for this weekend and find some pea seeds, because nothing comes close to the grassy sweetness of a fresh pea. You cannot buy this flavour, it has to happen in the garden. In fact, popping them fresh is the very reason to grow them: if they get to the kitchen, it’s a bonus.

There are two main players in the pea family: shelling peas, where the seed is either round or wrinkled, and mangetout. Mangetout, as their name suggests, have edible pods. There are two types: flat-podded, often slightly curved in shape and ever so slightly bloated; and sugar snap, where the pods are inflated and there’s a small immature pea. The latter are picked when the pod snaps in half. If you fail to harvest mangetout at the right moment they can be left to mature to shelling peas.

Related: How to grow the herb shiso perilla


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