>Our son, Cosmo has reached a certain level of expertise in the area of pea picking. At the age of 3 1/2 years old, he is a connoiseur of “the fat ones” and can shell and eat fresh peas for a minimum of two hours, while conducting a discourse on beneficial insects. He recently generously spared a moment of his time with me and allowed me to capture a glimpse of this young man, hard at work on his budding pea-eating career. Let’s go with him now—to the pea patch!
One of the most important things to remember when picking peas is that you want the fat pods. Not the skinny pods that don’t have plump and tender peas inside. Here Cosmo demonstrates the ideal specimen for harvest. You can almost see the outline of the peas inside. What you don’t want are the fat pods that are light-colored and wrinkly. Those are over-mature and the peas will be bitter, hard, and dry. Better wait until they’re completely dry and use them for soup.
The pea plants are very fragile, so it’s important to hold the plant with one hand and pluck off the pod with the other hand. Cosmo prefers to hold the plant with his left and pick with his right, but either hand will work for either job. Do what is comfortable for you.
Then, it’s important to eat the peas right away. Cosmo knows that as soon as the pods are detached from the plant all of the delicate sugars in the peas start converting to starches. Starches are not as sweet as sugars, so eat the peas as fresh as possible. Savor them while they are in season, because the season only lasts a few weeks!
And, don’t worry about bees in the peas. They’re too busy working at making more peas to worry about humans in the pea patch. As long as you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. And the tiny dinosaur looking crawling things are baby ladybugs. They’re the ones that eat the aphids on the plants. There are adult ladybugs in great abundance as well, but they drink flower nectar. It’s the babies that do the real bug-eating work. Here’s a picture of ladybug eggs in the fava beans, as well as their future dinner of black aphids.