The Ritual of Shelling Peas

I've picked peas from my little pea patch twice this week.

Then I sat down and shelled out the peas. I shelled out about three quarts of peas from the first picking and about two quarts of peas from the second picking.

If you've ever grown shelling peas, or English peas as some call them, you know it takes a bit of time to shell out that many peas.

And there is no way to hurry it up.  Well, there is one way. Someone once told me they cooked their peas in the pods and then shelled them as they ate them.

I'm sure that works but by cooking them in the pods they missed out on the ritual of shelling peas.

It's the same ritual every year, the same remembrance.

When I shell out my peas, I always remember how my Dad first taught me to plant peas and later pick them and shell them out.  I remember him telling me how when he was a kid, everyone helped shell out peas... him, his brothers, his parents, and his grandparents.

They grew enough peas to eat fresh in the springtime and to can for the wintertime. That, my friends, is a lot of peas.  I can imagine them all sitting on the front porch at the old farmhouse, shelling out peas, talking and telling stories.

We don't have near enough of that kind of family time any more, do we?

I was pretty happy with my 20 foot row of peas and how many peas I harvested this year. The variety was 'Green Arrow', which I've grown for several years now, ever since I found an old packet of my Dad's seeds for the same variety.

I saved back some peas to eat fresh and then blanched and froze about eight cups of peas from my harvest, enough for me to enjoy a few times this winter and add to some vegetable soup. Enough peas for me to remember gardening with my Dad, enough for me to remember the old farmhouse and imagine my grandparents and great-grandparents sitting on the porch, shelling out peas, and telling stories.

Enough for me to remember the ritual of shelling peas.


  1. My husband has fond memories of shelling peas with his family, but some of his siblings remember the chore not so fondly. My family would rather eat the peas raw than cooked, so we tend to shell them as we eat them and have nothing to show for our efforts besides satisfied tummies.

  2. I enjoyed your story. Question how much space do you need to grow peas ? And how much sun ? Thanks Patsi

  3. It is nice that you have such fond memories of shelling peas. I remember the flavor of those shelled peas. Delicious.

  4. My father grew peas. I remember shelling them with him. Those memories bring tears to my eyes.

  5. Such a sweet remembrance. I've never shelled peas and I've been missing something lovely.

  6. As a child, Easter was for shelling peas. Now, we shell fresh garbanzos.

  7. That's a lovely remembrance for several generations before. It is good that this peas are self pollinating and seeds can be stored for future use, if not for more useful reasons, then to tell stories, hehe.

  8. There are many examples of gourmet food, and here are a few of them among them truffles, the most expensive of fungi. However not all food that is considered gourmet is expensive. Some items can be foraged for if you know what you are looking for- chanterelles for example.


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