Shelling Peas during a Hurricane

Field Peas, That Is

I was once scheduled to take the now former Editor of the New York Times fly fishing, but his condo on the Gulf coast got hit by a hurricane, and he had to go and board up the windows instead. He actually is a great writer–a Pulitzer prize winner, in fact,– despite the fact that he had to survive the Alabama educational system. But so did I.

We live in the mountains, where we love a good hurricane. We get the rain during the driest part of the year, and hardly ever get any of the wind. In fact, our last four inches of rain came from tropical systems.

Hurricane Sally stayed around for so long that I thought she was one of my in-laws. Hurricane Delta got out of here like a dog with it’s tail on fire. But Delta gave us some really needed rain.

Here’s how fast it moved. I looked at the radar before I fed my chickens, and there was nothing there. I get to their pen, and it starts raining. I get back to the house, and our entire county is covered with rain.

However, nothing can stop MJ and myself from going to the Festhalle Farmer’s Market, not even a hurricane. An older gent there had the latest season field peas that I have ever seen. We bought 1/8 of a Bushel from him, and I spent the rest of the rainy day shelling peas.

Time for another trip to Nerdlandia. A “Market Basket” back in the old days was a standard of dry measure, and this guy had an authentic wooden market basket. That was 1/2 of a Peck, and four Pecks equals one Bushel. File that in the appropriate file.

Now for the backstory. My Aunt June ran the only real restaurant in our community, and she insisted on fresh ingredients. We began selling her field peas, and she sold them as fast as we could grow them. Then my father had the idea that we should sell to every restaurant in the area. So we planted fifteen acres of peas one summer.

The problem: Cooks want shelled peas. I spent a summer developing advanced pea shelling technigues. A sharp thumbnail helps, but there are ways around that.

Just rip the end off the pea. Then there is the thumb bulldozer approach, where your off hand thumb plows out the peas, while your dominant hand yanks on the shell. A really ripe pea gets the zipper approach, where you just pull the shell apart.

A really green pea? Just feed it to the chickens.

Author: southernfusionfood

Writer, Woodworker, and Happy Eater

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