Thursday 29 October 2020

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Bia Sasta

Give peas a chance!

Wednesday, 22nd July, 2020 4:39pm

A few weeks ago, during lockdown, a neighbour dropped off some pea plants which are coming into harvest now.

Unfortunately, none of the little green pearls is making it into any dish – not because they are not tasty but because they are.

Fresh peas are refreshing, juicy and delicious.

Every day, I wander over to the pea bed and take some of the larger pods, open them and snack away on these tasty greens balls. No cooking or seasoning needed - just as nature created them. They’re better than any sweets you can think of.

My love for fresh peas lead to me not being allowed to harvest peas in my parent’s garden. My dad loves stews and grew carrots, peas, beans, parsnip etc just to make stews.

We harvested, peeled, chopped and froze portions of mixes of vegetables for my mum just to take out a bag and start her famous stews. I was always roped in to helping dad pick the vegetables from their rich soil and my mum to prepare them for their icy new home – apart from the peas.

I am lucky this year as the plants Gerry gave us have a good bounty on them and I will be able to feed my pea addiction for a few days longer.

I am also blessed with a very rich herb garden – this year my oregano and marjoram are thriving and have perfected many tomato sauces.

The rosemary has started to grow into a fine bush and I need to trim it way down as it is overshadowing the thyme. I will be making rosemary infused oils as gifts for friends and create some nice desserts with it (ever tried Lemon Rosemary Posset? It’s delicious).

Lemon balm is popping up everywhere again which means refreshing cordial is in the making. This year, I might even try to dry the leaves – same with my wonderful fragrant lemon verbena. A mix of these leaves with mint will make delicious tea.

I have had beautiful mint tea when living in Turkey and the addition of fresh mint has always lifted the tea (no milk is added to Turkish tea – took me a while to get used to).

This year, I thought it might be a great idea to grow and dry my own tea (friends, be aware, there will be tea in your December gifts). I just have to figure out the best way to dry herbs without losing too much flavour.

I have a temperamental gas oven (worst decision ever) and my last go at drying tomatoes didn’t end well.

I could bind the herbs into bundles and hang in a dry place to dehydrate slowly. This method is the most natural one and works great in dry conditions but I live in an old cottage so depending on the weather outside, this might end up a disaster as well but definitely worth trying (just need to keep an eye on it).

As I don’t have a microwave, I am not sure how successful this method would be but I think the most reliable method would be in a food dehydrator.

It is on my wishlist for a long time and apart from drying herbs, you can dry fruit and vegetables as well. I might add it to the famous December letter to a certain person.

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