When to Pick Peas

Yesterday, I picked my first Peas. Most of them were delicious. However, there was the odd pod or two that didn’t quite taste as good as the rest. But why? The answer is I’d left them on the plant just a tad too long.

What you’re looking for is Peas that are round and green (as above).

What you’re not looking for is Peas that are square-ish and pale green (as below).

These Peas have been left too long on the plant. They have out-grown their pod and the taste has started to decline. They don’t taste quite as sweet as the round, green Peas. Some people would describe them as ‘mealy’, which just means that they have a thicker texture than younger Peas and they don’t go ‘pop’ in your mouth like the others will.

You can tell the difference before you open the pod. The old pods will feel fuller and there will be a slight difference in colour on the outside of the pods. The top pod in the photo above is the older one and you can see that it’s slightly lighter in colour than the bottom one. They might also start to curve and develop a pronounced texture on the outside of the pod if left a very long time.

Pick them regularly to avoid this. Sometimes only one or two pods a day will be ready but you can either eat them as they come or freeze them until you have enough to use. Either way is fab.

But if your Peas have gone too far don’t despair. You can still use them in soups etc.

14 Comments on “When to Pick Peas

  1. Snap ! First pickings of ‘Feltham First’ today – absolutely delicious. I have only grown mange tout peas before so it was a guessing game. Your post will come in most handy when it comes to future pickings. Thanks :)

  2. Great advice, I’ll use that when I start to pick mine which should be any day now.

  3. @ryancarson – who made you ‘head’ undergardener, hmm, hmm?

  4. Ah, will have to watch for that but I don’t think it will be a problem – I’ve been harvesting my peas for a few weeks already and most of them don’t even make it through the front door so there’s not much danger of them going too long before I harvest them!! hehe. Thanks for the tip though. I love this site, it’s brill.

  5. Mealy peas may not be quite so zingy when fresh, but don’t forget they form the third part of that holy trinity, fish and chips AND MUSHY PEAS!

    If I were only half-handy with a camera that would be my summer food combination…

  6. When to pick peas?
    Before anyone else does!
    We scoffed todays harvest and all the baby carrots as soon as we got them. Gorgeous!

  7. Mine should be ready any day now. I’m looking forward to picking them.

  8. Droolingveg – Yes of course, mealy peas = mushy peas. I’ve never made my own mush peas. Do you have a recipe?

  9. Proof that you need your own little plot, and not to depend on supermarkets: they are full of big bags of fresh peas right now but they are mostly overgrown like you describe here.

    The other thing that happens when they are overgrown, is the skin on the peas is split and then it falls off in cooking.

    I might just have to schlep across London to my dad’s allotment and steal some of his!

  10. This is great…but my peas are long gone. :)
    I need to know when to pick beans! How?

    I have scarlet runner beans and fava beans….if you are in the mood for a bean lesson, I’d love some tips!

  11. The peas that you can buy in the supermarket that are still in the pods are a joke. They will be far too bitter and well past their best by the time you get them home and pod them. You’re better off buying frozen peas that are frozen 2 hours after picking. At least they will have retained a certain amount of sweetness. It’s a sad example of the supermarkets jumping on the ‘grow your own’ bandwagon and foolish shoppers falling for it. Don’t buy them…

    Phew! Got a bit hot under the collar then… but I’m alright now.

  12. How do you freeze freshly picked peas? I thought you just popped the pods, take the peas out & put them in a freezer bag & into the freezer but my other 1/2 says this is wrong & they’ll go off.

    Please help!