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Today I picked a good harvest of shell peas. I planted seed along the fenceline in the main garden. I usually plant them here, so I don’t have to fuss with putting in supports for the vines.
It’s so much easier to have them growing up something that is already there. They can just grab onto the fence wire, and their tendrils will wind around the wire, keeping the plants upright.
I always look forward to harvesting peas. Mind you, I harvest a few almost every time I am in the garden! Who can resist picking a pod off, pulling the string and popping those fresh peas right in the mouth? No one, that’s who.
Another reason I love picking peas is because it will mean rest time for me. It gets quite hot here in the afternoons and there is nothing better than taking a rest in the shade with a bag or two of peas to shell.
Aaah, there is nothing like a pea induced rest on the porch, I love it.
I can shell while sitting quietly, rocking in my chair and looking around the yard. I can be busy, but not “busy” if you know what I mean. When I’m done shelling, I move on to the next part.
How to Blanch and Freeze Peas
Since I am going to freeze the peas, I put a large pot of water on the stove to come to a boil. Once boils, I add all the shelled peas and let it boil for two minutes. This blanches the vegetable enough to then be able to freeze it.
After the two minutes is up, I dump the pot into a colander in the sink and start running cold water over the peas.
Once they feel cool, plug in the stopper and just let the sink fill a bit and let the colander just sit there. Run your fingers through to ensure cold water gets to all the peas. This will speed up the cooling process.
When the peas are cold, I pour them out onto cookie sheets into a single layer. I dump them right from the colander and then spread the peas out using my hands. Make sure they are in a single layer. You want them to freeze individually, so they they don’t all clump together.
Then just pop the trays in the freezer for 24 hours and bring them back out. Use a spatula to get the frozen peas off the sheet and into the freezer bag.
I like freezing them like this so the peas are frozen individually, so when I want to have some I can just pour out the desired amount and bring them to a boil before adding them to our dinner plates.
We love shelled peas – I usually plant some snow peas too. This year, it’s all shell peas called Bounty. This blanching process works for most vegetables that you want to freeze.
Boil the clean vegetables for 2 minutes, then plunge into cool water to cool them off quickly. Then pop them into freezer bags and put them in the freezer. Done!
If you want to learn more about freezing your own garden harvests, take a look at this great book, one of the best resources available is the Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery.
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