I'm having a few issues with my peas. You might remember I struggled with mice eating the newly planted seeds - I thought I might not end up with any peas this year. Ha. Ha ha.
There is a chaotic jungle of pea plants in the pea bed. Part of it is my fault and part is the mice's fault. It turns out the mice didn't eat as many of the seeds as I thought they had. So when I planted them for the second (and the third) time, I was creating some trouble for myself. It would have been okay if I had thinned the plants once they started to sprout. But the seedlings were getting nibbled (mice again) and I thought I would keep them all a while longer for insurance. Only I sort of forgot to get around to thinning them until it was too late. Much too late.
So I have way too many plants in the bed, making it hard to spot the peas for picking. The other problem is that I planted three kinds of peas: snow, snap and shelling. Of course I planted them in orderly sections so I would know what was what. But I think the mice did a little shuffling - probably laughing all the while. I'm serious: I know they carried newly planted peas to other locations, because I now have pea plants growing in the oddest places. So I think the mice are responsible for the fact the three types of peas have crossed my carefully planned boundaries and are happily intermingling. That would be okay - I'm not that anally-retentive. But it means I don't know what to pick when.
The snow peas are meant to be picked early, when they are beautifully thin and svelte. The snap peas are meant to be picked when their pods feel plump and juicy. It's the pods that are so tasty - any peas inside are irrelevant. But the shelling pea pods need to be plump, too - only they need to be full of peas, because you don't eat the pod.
So there's a bed full of wildly mixed up pea plants, and I'm staring at what I think is a snow pea. But is it really a snow pea, or is it really a snap or shelling pea that I should leave until it plumps up? If I leave it, I might get a tough, aged snow pea that's not worth eating. On the other hand, what a waste if if I guess it's a snow pea and pick it and it's really a shelling pea.
To complicate things even further, I clearly have something to learn about when to pick shelling peas. I managed to find a pod in the midst of the pea chaos that I was quite confident was a shelling pea pod, and it looked in its prime: plump, firm, just ripe for picking I thought. There it is, in the picture at the top of the post. Here's what it looked like when I opened it up.
Not quite what I was hoping for. You practically need a magnifying glass to see those peas. They were tasty, though.
I did manage to locate, correctly identify and pick a handful of snow peas yesterday, and they wound up in the salad I made for supper: leaves picked from the still growing cabbages (shredded), garlic scapes (sliced), the snow peas (slivered), and green onions (cut up fine), all from the garden. With a dressing made with good mayo, curry powder and lime juice. Yum.