The pea shooter: for healthy eating and keen cooks

Pea Shoots and bean shoots

Has the day of the humble pea shoot arrived? Plucked from recent obscurity their tendrils are spreading fast – like in Nigel Slater’s recipes, Hugh Fearnley’s recipes and BBC 2’s Edible Garden programme.

For the city grower lacking time and space, this is all a good thing. The pea shoot is tailor made for small spaces: it grows easily and fast, it tastes delicious, it looks beautiful in a salad or risotto, it’s hard to find in the shops, and it doesn’t need much sun.

They’re also one of the cheapest crops to grow. Did you know that you don’t have to buy expensive seed packets to grow pea shoots? For a fraction of the price, you can use dried peas  from food shops. Buy organic if you can. I use organic ‘marrow fat’ peas. They don’t sound promising, but they taste great – and at 95pence for half a kilo, they are about 10 times cheaper than the average seed packet.

As the pea shoot rises to fame, let’s not forget that other bean shoots can also be delicious. Broad bean shoots are ideal for the vertical allotment: they grow quickly and easily and taste of broad beans  – yummy in salads and risottos. These offer an excellent alternative to conventional broad beans which are not very productive in small spaces. Again, you can use the dried broad beans sold in food shops. Other bean shoots can reputedly be eaten, too – black eyed peas will be tested and blogged on soon.

To grow, simply soak in water for 24 hours, then sow in a container and cover with a thin layer of soil, and keep moist. In warm weather you’ll be eating shoots in just a few weeks.

I like them so much, I’ve designed my own ‘pea shooter’. A long, shallow container (light and easy to move), to grow different shoots throughout the summer.

The Pea Shooter (pea shoots in foreground, broad bean shoots towards the back)

6 comments… add one

  • I love ful medames for breakfast, it’s made of fava beans (broad beans) and topped with a fresh salad of cucumbers onions and tomato, drizzle of oil and a squeeze of lemon and you’re ready to face the world! I never thought of shooting them. Haven’t been to Earth for a while, it’s not far from East Finchley so I’ll head over and get some. I buy my dried peas from Asda, I was mainly attracted by the packaging of the Leo brand and at 38p for 250 grams, well that’s a lot of peas. Plus you can treat them as cut and come again, Managed to harvest the shoots up to 4 times before the little peas give up!

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    • Yes, growing peas like that is great – brilliant job getting four harvests from one crop! Ful medames grow just as easily and quickly and can also be grown as cut and come again. Now, I must try your suggestion of ful medames for breakfast!

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  • Thanks for that. Yup Kentish town is out of the way. Camberwell is my neighborhood.

    I’ll definitely look out for ful medames!

    Thanks so much!

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  • I just realised I never asked the question haha…. I was wondering is it Holland and Barratt you buy your peas from?

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    • I haven’t tried their peas – but I’d say they’re definitely worth a try. Sow a few in a container and see what happens! I got my peas from Earth in Kentish Town, London – but not worth travelling there unless you live nearby! My favourite beans to grow as shoota are ful medames – you can get from Middle Eastern shops – they look and taste just like mini broad beans.

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  • Hello there! My mum sent me your website recently as I have just started my own (above) and I have enjoyed reading your posts, old and new.

    This sounds great for some space which we have not yet sown our beans.

    Thanks!
    Claire

    Reply

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