Friday, July 26, 2013

Easy Peasy!

One of my favorite garden crops is snow peas.  These are called “Melting Sugar”.  Home-grown snow peas are crisper than the ones I find in the produce aisle of the grocery store.  Those are always a little wilty from sitting around.  Mine stay crisp in the vegetable drawer for at least a week as I accumulate enough from daily pickings for a stir fry or salad.

As shown in the picture, snow peas can be grown in largish containers.  Simply plant and water. Easy peasy -- anyone with a 3 x 6 deck or sunny spot can do it.  They (the peas, not the gardeners) need something to climb on, like a trellis.  A couple of years ago, the local birds discovered the sprouts and left them looking like they’d been attacked by tiny scissors.  After that, I draped the trellis with bird netting.  That seems to solve the problem, and the peas like to climb on the netting as well.  They make a nice green and edible privacy screen.

I pick the pods when they are 3-4 inches long.  When they get going, they should be picked once or twice a day.  I like to snip off the ends, and pull off the strings if there are any. I cut them into 1 ½ inch pieces and toss in near the end of a stir fry so they just warm through or add them raw to a salad.

Quinoa salad is a summer favorite at our house.  I start with leftover quinoa and mix in a little balsamic vinaigrette to keep it from sticking together.  Mix in chopped snow peas, cucumber, sweet pepper, cherry tomatoes, and any other raw vegetables you enjoy.  Before serving, mix in a little more vinaigrette and some cubed cheese and chopped avocado.  Instead of the cheese, you could add cubed cooked chicken or ham.  If you don’t care for quinoa, you could substitute rice or pasta.  When I make this with pasta, I marinate the salad in Italian dressing, then add ranch dressing at the end to coat the pasta and make the dressing a little creamy.  These are two cool summer salads that we enjoy when the temps reach the 90s, like they have this week.

Regrettably, my peas don’t care for the hot weather, so they are done for the season.  When the pods start to get thick and curl, it’s off to the composter for them.