Thursday, August 08, 2013

Shelling peas

This is my first year to grow purple hull peas.  I was under the impression that they were a bush bean so I didn't put the trellis up.  I was wrong.  While they aren't the climbers that the Christmas Limas were last year, I am having some trouble keeping them in the 4x12 box they are planted.

I love the deep purple hulls.  They have yet to stain my fingertips as you would expect.  Maybe I'm just not shelling that many at a time.  Some days yield more than others.  Not always enough for a complete pot.  So i take small quart freezer bags and add to them after each day's picking. Usually by the end of the week we have enough for a pot of beans to add to a meal over the weekend.

I cook my peas the Southern way.  With pork of course.  I don't use the traditional salt pork.  It's too salty for me (hence the name I'm sure).  I take about 4 slices of bacon and cut it into small pieces and begin to brown them in the pot I will cook my peas.  While the bacon is rendering, I toss in some thinly sliced onion or shallot.  Once the bacon is brown and crispy I fish it out of the pot.  I don't boil it with the peas because I like the crunch it adds when you put it back in at the end.    Right before adding the peas and water I take a clove of garlic and run it through a press.  Add your peas and water to cover and a generous splash of apple cider vinegar.  Once the peas have softened to your liking (it's a constant battle at our house.  I like mine a little al dente.  Ben likes his just this close to mush.) turn off the heat and add the bacon back in.

Now here is where the serving of legumes at our house can get odd.  Ben always adds a dollop of mayonnaise to his beans or peas.  I always attributed this to some odd Alabama custom because there is a exorbitant amount of mayonnaise love in that state.  But I have to come to realize this was less of an regional custom as it was a JT Darley's (Ben's grandfather) custom.

I asked Luke if he had eaten any of the peas I made last time he said "Yeah.  I put the mayonnaise on ti like Dad."  And thus the custom continues on.

Luke is my garden helper and he enjoys shelling the peas.  He's the only one of the kids that's shown any interest in actually working the garden.

And working is what we need to catch up on.  The weeds outside and inside the garden beds are getting a little uppity.  I plan to lay down pavers around the beds that way I don't have to worry about walking through the weeds.  I mulched with hay before we left for vacation but the weeds have made their way through that as well.  And in spite of my pruning and tying efforts the tomatoes have created quite the jungle.  I just try to  reach in and grab anything not green.  The okra despite the better efforts of some errant goats (twice they got out and ate them down to nubs) are leafy and about to explode.  Bring on the pickling.  The banana peppers have gone, well bananas.  If I can every get the kitchen clean there will be pepper jelly in our future.  I so love it on my eggs.

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