Happy November! Fall is flying by so fast. September sped into October and now one month later Thanksgiving is around the bend. Weather here is still hot and we haven’t had rain in several weeks. It feels like it’s still summer!
So, on this first day of November, I’ll backtrack to August.
Remember the Purple Hull Peas I blogged about? Well, I saved some of the dried peas (seed) and planted them. I knew it was late summer and dry and they probably wouldn’t grow, but they did!
I was amazed that six out of the eight seeds I planted sprouted and all of the six young bushes provided a few pods each. The spent plants will get tilled back into my little 4 x 4 garden, for nitrogen. The larger pods have dried and will be saved for seed.
For drying peas, you can either leave them on the plant until they dry (they’ll rattle in the pod) and then harvest and shell them. Or, pick them earlier (I did this to save them from our foraging deer!) and let them dry on the kitchen counter.
Store dried peas in a labeled paper bag in a cool, dry place until ready to plant in the spring (after the last frost).
To get the pea seeds ready for planting, soak them overnight or for 24 hours in room temperature water. When you see a little “sprout” emerge, plant it in the garden, 1/2 inch to one inch deep.
Plant seeds 8 to 12 inches apart. Provide string or bamboo stake for plants to climb, once several leaves are established.
Harvest when pea pods are mature. For purple hull peas, the pod will be a solid purple color when fully mature.
These peas have traditionally been eaten at all stages of maturity. When very young, the pods resemble (shorter) Chinese long beans and can be eaten, cooked, pod and all! Younger peas (more mature pod, color still green) are starchier and a little sweeter, cook them as you would any fresh pea (20 to 30 minutes in a simmering water bath).
I have read that you can even use the empty pods to make Purple Hull Jelly! The idea is not so surprising when you open the pods and see the starchy membrane that cradles the peas inside. Surely that starch gels.
Most of the recipes I’ve seen call for tons of sugar so I’ll put it on the calendar for experimentation next summer!