Friday 27 July 2012

Thrifty Gourmet - Pea Shoots

Anyone who watches Masterchef will know that no meal is properly dressed without a garnish of pea shoots, but where to get hold of these poncey pre-pubescent peas?

Well, some of the larger (and more upmarket) superstores do sell them, bagged and washed in spring-water - presumably handpicked by fair maidens.  But you don't need to spend silly money for these super-foods, it's really quick and easy to grow your own for a fraction of the price.

For the tenderest, pea-flavoured shoots, get hold of a cheap packet of pea seeds from the garden centre, or you can pick them up for under a pound in discount homeware stores.

Cheaper still, you can use dried peas from the supermarket at around 70p a bag, but these tend to be Marrowfat peas and they grow a slightly tougher shoot.  It's not a problem though if you pick them really, really young.

500g of dried peas will keep us in shoots for the whole summer and beyond

Start by soaking the peas overnight in cold water.  This will help them to germinate faster.

Sew in shallow trays, with a thin layer of compost on top.  Sew thickly - no need to worry about spacing here, the more the merrier!

Keep moist and you should have delicious pea shoots ready to cut in around 10 days.

They can be eaten raw - add to salads and use as a garnish.  Or quickly blanch them in hot water to use as a vegetable.

Pea shoots are highly nutritious.  They are low in fat and contain high levels of vitamins A, C and Folic Acid.

Go on, give peas a chance.

Do you have any thrifty gourmet tips?  I'd love to hear them.


  1. We love pea shoots and do this. I think I saw it on the TV on Alice whatshername (used to be on Gardeners world) kitchen garden show!

  2. Oh I missed that one. I've done it for a few years now Have you tried it with sunflower seeds? Sunflower shoots are super-dooper healthy :0) x

  3. We did this the year before last too, inspired by Alys Fowler, but I've struggled to find anywhere selling dried peas this year! :( we've been sprouting beans and chickpeas though. :)

    1. I couldn't find them in my normal supermarket, but most large supermarkets sell them (ours is only a small one) or try health food shops. x

  4. Lmao, you had to had the Give peas a chance line in there, didn't you! Mich x

  5. Replies
    1. Apart from the first one obviously, taken on my phone!