Most years I try to grow something new in my vegetable garden, and this year it was the pea Blauwschokker. When I say new, I mean new to me but not necessarily a new variety horticulturally speaking. In fact Blauwschokker (Pisum sativum var.arvense) is a very old heritage variety believed to come from Holland, and still sold by most seed companies due to its continuing popularity. It can be sown outdoors from when the soil has warmed up (in the beginning of May in my cold climate garden) until midsummer, and takes between 5 to 15 days to germinate. The flowers are two-coloured beauties in their own right that develop into gorgeous purple seedpods. For fully grown peas an average of 75 days is to be expected.
One of the nice features of the Bleuwschokker pea is that it can be eaten both as mange tout (above) or be left to develop into seedpods. As mange tout I like to cut them sideways into smaller decorative bits for use as raw vegetables in salads, but truth be told in my family this is a bit of a race against time as any harvested and washed vegetable that is left on the kitchen counter tends to magically disappear as soon as my back is turned... Apparently they keep the purple pod colour really nicely when boiled as mange touts, but as I said we never had the patience to get that far last summer. Which is great, as it means that I have a nice foodie project for the coming season!
These peas are also a very good alternative for those that have a small garden as they grow vertically between 180-200 cm tall. I planted mine to climb six decorative black trellis obelisks and got a really good crop of a six square meter area, which was about two meters of length of my vegetable boarder. If left to fully develop the peas inside the pods are green and large. They are not as sweet as some other varieties when boiled, but on the other hand it is a great variety for freezing as they don't go all mushy in the process. I also like to dry them and use them in making pea soup during our long cold winter.
Vegan pea soup from dried peas:
250 g dry peas
1½ l of water
1-2 vegetable broth cubes
2 teaspoons crushed black pepper
1½ teaspoon of marjoram
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoons salt
Rinse the peas with cold water and soak them overnight in a large casserole with 3 liters of water. Rinse again and bring to boil in 1 1/2 liters of water, skimming the foam of the soup. Once the broth is clear, add salt, broth cubes, the chopped onion and bayleaf and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Chop the rest of the vegetables into small cubes and add to the soup together with the marjoram, soy sauce and mustard and boil for another half hour. Enjoy in the Finnish way with chopped red onion and a dash of mustard on top.And, if you want to go wild, add more root vegetables and make it your own recipe!