The End of the Peas
Today I ate my the last handful of snap peas from the garden. There were a few left that were still sweet and delicious, but mostly what's left of the peas look like this:
Earlier in the fall there were still many good pods left on vines that didn't look so hot, but now I think they've been frostbitten. Several pods that looked plump and ready to shell were soft when I went to pick them, a sure sign that they froze and then thawed.
Anyway, over the course of several weeks I have picked and shelled regular green peas and processed them to freeze for the winter. To do this, you blanch them for two minutes (blanching is just boiling them quickly):
Once the two minutes are up, you drain them (I am using a two-piece pot and strainer above, which makes this a breeze with tiny peas that could otherwise be a pain to try to pour the water off of). Then you quickly submerge them in ice water to stop the cooking process:
As you can see above, I keep mine in the strainer and let the ice water come up through the holes in the bottom. This keeps all the tiny peas corralled so that when they are cold, all I have to do is pick up the strainer and let the cold water run back out. Then you dry them a bit on a towel (pat very gently!), and put them in freezer bags:
That's a gallon bag, and it's about 1/3 full. That's not very many peas saved from 12 row feet of peas. We did eat some right away, but still. That's not exactly a winter store of peas, especially considering how much our kids like them. Next spring I think we will go for about six times that amount of area devoted to regular peas and see what we get. Good thing we built that great big garden out there!