How to grow pea shoots (hopefully)

A few months ago I went for dinner with the girls from accounts to Jamie’s Italian in Canary Wharf. I’m not normally a huge fan as there is always a huge queue and I don’t think that the food is that special.  However, we all kicked the night off with an aperitif which was delicious, as were the starters. For some reason this evening I was feeling particularly hungry and I opted for the Bucatini Cabonara (I’m not normally a creamy sauce kind of girl). For those not familiar with bucatini, it is kind of like a fat spaghetti with a hole running through the middle (or, indeed, a long, skinny macaroni). This particular pasta shape takes me back to my best friends country cottage kitchen and my first ever taste of pesto back in the early 90s. It’s rare to see it in the UK (no idea why) although I have seen it on an M&S menu recently too so lets hope it’s making a comeback.

What the menu doesn’t mention (and I suspect that this maybe something to do with the availability of this extra ingredient) is that it comes with a pile of delicate greens on top. I had no idea what they were but I love my greens (LOVE them!) so I dived in happily. It turns out that they were pea shoots, which you know immediately as they taste so strongly of pea. They were absolutely beautiful, such a lovely flavour and complemented the pancetta in the carbonara perfectly.

Since finding out about the existence of pea shoots I have hardly been able to glance at a piece food writing without reading the word ‘pea’ and ‘shoot’. I have also come across some daredevils who have suggested that they are fairly easy to grow and provide ‘almost instant results’.

So, taking their lead I am going to attempt to grow some myself. Following a tip from The Evening Herault blog I got The Boy to wash out our left over plastic pot from our chicken pieces (these went in the slow cooker, probably our first non-barbecued evening meal in the house since we moved in!). I made some holes in the bottom of the pot using a phillips head screwdriver for drainage and filled it with compost.

Be careful of your fingers!

I bought my dried peas from ASDA, they were 29p and came in this awesome looking retro packaging. So if they produce anything like the ones I saw here I will be a very happy lady, cheap, stylish and yummy!

Leo Dried Peas

The other blogs I have read on this topic  have suggested that you can plant them quite densely which I attempted to do but the peas themselves were quite big so I have put them a close together as I dared.

Peas in a row

I then sprinkled a layer of compost over the top and watered them generously (so generously that I revealed the peas and had to re-cover them with compost).

Water... not wash away

Now, all the experts say that in 3-4 weeks I will have some delicious pea shoots to eat. I hope they are right and that I manage to keep them watered enough . The Boy and I are going to Italy this week for a wedding so I hope that they don’t dry out whilst we’re away (although, if you are anywhere near London at the moment, you will know that there is probably very little chance of that!).

Check back in a few weeks time and I will show you how they have progressed, in the meantime I will have a scout around for some recipes that I can use them in (although I suspect that I will be using them on EVERYTHING!).

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “How to grow pea shoots (hopefully)

  1. eveningherault

    Best of luck with it and thanks for the kind words!

    The shoots are great in salads, as garnishes or even (if they get a bit tougher) as the basis of a pea and ham soup.

    If the weather looks like it’s going to be dry while you’re away, you might want to leave your containers in the shade. On the other hand, if there’s any change of a downpour you might want to cover them with glass or plastic so they don’t become waterlogged.

    • Thanks for the comment and all your advice! I think that they will be okay as they are on a covered balcony that only gets the morning sun. I can’t wait to start using them. Thank you for the recipe inspiration. I’ve also been growing Lavender on my other balcony so if I am feeling brave, I might even have a bash at the Lavender ice cream you have mentioned!

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