Fresh pea shoots are a tasty salad addition at any time of year but especially during chilly grey winter months when fresh salad greens are at their scarcest. These crisp shoots with their fresh pea flavour instantly transport you to summer days with memories of picking peas and eating them straight out of the pod.
Having seen them available on supermarket shelves I found it was super easy to grow them at home and have them ready to cut as required. Simply buy a pack of any dried marrow fat peas normally used for making soup*, I soak a good handful for about 5 hours, then sow them thickly onto fresh compost in any handy sized flower pot. They want to be just below the top of the pot and by having the seeds touching each this seems best for a good density of shoots. But really adjust to suit your own preferences. Cover with a thin layer of compost and tap the pot on the table to settle the contents and that’s it.
Water the pot, then stand indoors on a window ledge, it does not matter if it is north facing and gets no sun at all. Unlike planting seeds which are to be grown on in the garden, you actually want these shoots to draw up to be tall and leggy.
Keep an eye on the pot so as not to let the soil dry out, I leave it close to my washing up area so it is easy to see, then once the shoots are growing turn the pot regularly. That way the shoots will grow straighter and not make a horizontal dash for the window pane! I like to leave them until they get their first curly tendrils, there’s no difference to the flavour but they look pretty. That is all there is to it, green fingers definitely not essential!
Next bit is the best bit and even easier, just cut as required, a quick rinse and that’s it, a little bit of summer on your plate. Let them grow back a second time after their first hair cut. They are not as tall or perfect this second time around but that is fine, they still have that wonderful fresh pea flavour and crunch. Delicious!
*Caution – use only peas sold for cooking, DO NOT use peas that are sold for sowing in the garden, these may have protective chemical dressings on the seed.