Last year, I grew several varieties of peas and allowed some of them to ripen completely for use as pulses and or seed. When it came to harvest, I realised that the labels had blown away, so it wasn't possible to tell which was which in many cases.

Garden peas I discovered last year ripen to form "marrowfat" peas, which are mainly used for mushy peas. This type of pea must be cooked with bicarbonate of soda otherwise it doesn't soften. The yield of seed was impressive, but culinary potential seemed limited. Finely ground in a coffee grinder, these peas could be used in place of gram (chick pea) flour for making the crispy batter for onion bhajis or pakoras. The only difference was that the batter was green instead of golden brown

I now know that garden/marrowfat peas are a different species from the split peas used in pease pudding and Scotch broth. Garden peas were introduced to Britain about 300 years ago, and for years were an expensive delicacy. The anglo-saxons grew a kind of small brown pea which was harvested when fully ripe, and used like lentils. I assume that this must have been a relative of the field peas which are now mostly grown for animal feed in Britain. I would like to grow these, but like edible lupins (which I would also like to grow), the seeds come in sacks rather than packets (any like minded soul interested in splitting the cost of a sack, please
email us. From the wholefood shop I bought a 500g packet of Maple peas also known as Carlins for 1 (had it been labelled as seed, and in a garden centre it would have cost far more). The maple peas were, according to the packet, grown in the UK. I had never heard of them before. They are yellow with a brown coat. I will try planting some soon.
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