They are rising in popularity these days - and have long been popular with some cultures outside North America - but pea shoots still aren't something you find on your average grocery store shelf. I've snipped a few here and there from the peas I've grown, but this year I tried growing them in flats kind of like you would with micro greens and I'm not sure why I didn't start doing this earlier!
Growing pea shoots this way you have all the deliciousness of fresh peas without waiting until the pods are ready to harvest. I can't believe I didn't start doing this earlier!
The variety I used (linked above) is an heirloom pea that actually has beautiful red flowers if you let it grow longer. It is known for its' strong, succulent tendrils which is why it is a great candidate for growing in this way. All you need to do is fill a flat tray like the seed starting tray in the photo below (linked above) almost to the top with a good quality potting soil suitable for growing vegetables (I used promix and I've linked it above as well although I will say I've seen it cheaper elsewhere). Scatter the pea seeds on top. You can crowd them in pretty closely because you're going to cut them when they are only a few inches high so you don't have to really worry about them competing for nutrients. Cover them with a bit more soil, and then water thoroughly, but not to the point of creating a swamp.
After you've got them planted the upkeep is really simple. Just make sure to keep it moist without letting it get waterlogged. You really won't need to water much as there is no drainage, but you do need to keep the seeds moist so that they actually sprout. Once they are around six inches tall you can harvest them at any time, but don't let them get too much longer or they will be a bit tough. Use these as you would use any other spring green - in salads, as part of a sandwich filling, in a frittata - you name it! Here are a few things that I've been making recently to give you a few ideas.
Pea Shoot Green Sauce
- Pea Shoots
- Green Garlic, or 1 Garlic Clove
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
Takes , serves 6.
- Put pea shoots, green garlic, juice of half a lemon (go easy here as it can be overpowering and you'll have a chance to add more later), teaspoon of salt (again, you'll have the chance to add more later if you need to), and enough olive oil to make it liquid enough to blend in a blender or food processor. Pea shoots are soft enough that a mortar and pestle would work as well, but it would take longer.
- Blend until you like the consistency. I keep mine chunkier because I like to spread it on toast (adding a fried egg on top is an incredible idea as well).
- Taste and add more salt, lemon juice, or olive oil until you like the taste and texture. Spread it on toast, use it as a dip, or put it on a burger - the options are endless!
Ginger Miso Sautéed Pea Shoots
- Large Bunch of Pea Shoots (overesimate as they shrink down quite a bit with cooking)
- Small thumb of Ginger, minced
- 1 tsp Miso Paste
- Butter or Olive Oil for Sautéing
Takes , serves 2-4 Depending on the amount of pea shoots. Estimate 1 large handful per person..
- Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan on medium-low heat.
- Whisk the ginger and miso into the butter until it blends into a sauce.
- Arange sliced mozzarella and tomato on flatbread. Place back in oven until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Add the pea shoots and sauté until wilted, but not mushy.
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