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Harvesting & preserving peas

22.03.2021  /  Reading time: 6 minutes

Peas are an important source of protein in the home kitchen. But that's not all - legumes are also known for being a great green manure plant. It is therefore worth growing them in your own garden!

Have you planted your peas and are they already forming their first pods? Here you can find out what you need to consider when harvesting snap peas, paler peas and sweet peas. We also explain how you can preserve peas.

This article contains:

  1. Harvesting peas - When to harvest peas?
  2. How often can you harvest peas?
  3. When are peas ripe?
  4. Preserving peas - freezing & drying peas
  5. Obtaining your own seeds

Quick Overview

Harvesting peas

  • When? Depending on the variety and sowing time, between June and August; winter peas are harvested as early as May, as they remain in the bed throughout the winter
  • How often? Marrowfat peas and sugar snap peas are harvested 1-2 times a week, paler peas are harvested once
  • Harvest sugar snappeas - flat pod without mature seeds
  • Harvesting palerpeas - with a dried pod and fully ripe seeds
  • Harvesting snap pe as - green pod and well-formed green seeds

Harvesting peas - When to harvest peas?

Depending on the sowing time and variety, the harvest usually begins in June and lasts until August. Most pea varieties are sown between March and June. However, there are also some varieties that you can sow and therefore harvest later. There are even some winter peas that give you a very early harvest in May. In general, however, pea plants are on the bed for between three and four months. Some varieties grow up to 1.30 m high, some old varieties even up to 2 m.

Marrowfat peas at harvest
You harvest marrowfat peas when the pods are full and bright green.

A little tip: The young sprouts of peas are also edible and can be used in salads and vegetable dishes. You can also grow peas as sprouts.


How often can you harvest peas?

Marrowfat peas and sugar snap peas are harvested continuously as soon as the fruits are ripe. It is best to harvest them once or twice a week so that they are still very tender and sweet. Always pinch off the pods that are already large enough and let the rest continue to grow. Frequent harvesting accelerates the regrowth of the new pods. Shelling peas, on the other hand, are only harvested when the pods are dry. For this reason, snap peas are harvested in one go.

When are peas ripe?

Harvesting sugar snap peas

With sugar snap peas , the seeds in the pod are not allowed to ripen, but are harvested while they are still flat. As soon as thicker fruits form inside, the shell becomes firm and fibrous.

This is what a ripe sweet pea looks like, ready for you to harvest it. Picture by Sarah on Pixabay

Harvesting shelling peas/palmer peas

Shell peas or paler peas are usually harvested dried . Only harvest them as soon as the pods are brown and dry. For a particularly easy harvest, leave the pods to dry indoors and then thresh them out. The pods burst open and you save yourself the tedious task of shelling the peas.

Harvesting field peas

Marrowfat peas are harvested when the grains are round and bright green. If you wait too long to harvest them, the sugar turns into starch and the peas lose their flavor. To prevent them from over-ripening and losing their flavor, you should pick and process marrowfat peas immediately after harvesting. To do this, break the pods open at the seam and split the peas, which can then also be eaten raw or cooked.

Ripe marrowfat peas
This is what ripe marrowfat peas look like. To ensure that they taste good for a long time, you should separate them directly from the pods.

Preserving peas - freezing & drying peas

Marrowfat and sugar snap peas will only keep for a few days in the fridge. To preserve them, you can simply blanch the peas briefly, rinse them in cold water and then freeze them. Alternatively, you can also freeze sugar snap peas fresh. Paler peas keep longer than other types of peas because they are easier to dry. The dry grain is also still smooth and round. Simply leave the dried paler peas to soak overnight before preparing them and they are ready. For year-round use in the kitchen, different peas can be combined in the garden to maximize the harvest window.

Obtaining your own seeds

As the pea is an annual plant, it must be sown anew each year. The seeds can be easily extracted from the pods. Simply allow a few pods of seed-resistant varieties to ripen until they are brown and dry. It is not important to harvest the pods particularly early. The seeds inside should be fully ripe, regardless of whether they become mealy and no longer taste as delicious. Then dry the ripened seeds gently (not in the sun or in the oven) and sow them the following year as described above. The seeds will wrinkle a little during drying, which is completely normal. Be aware that the germination capacity of your own and purchased seeds decreases significantly after 4 to 5 years.

You can find out how to grow your own young plants from these seeds in this article. Here you can find tips on sowing peas and growing them.


Want to get helpful gardening tips all year round and plan your own beds in the best possible way? Then register here or download the Fryd app for Android or iOS.

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(Cover image by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash)

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Author

Marie

Marie studied agricultural science at the University of Hohenheim. Her main focus is on ecological agriculture and permaculture. She writes articles for Fryd to educate people about ecological interrelationships and alternatives to current land use. Our current economic systems, especially in agriculture, have numerous negative effects on nature and destabilize our ecosystems. We need a great diversity in our gardens and beds again to counteract the extinction of species. Every gardener can contribute to creating and maintaining habitats and food for a wide variety of creatures. With her articles, she would like to pass on her experience in dealing with natural systems and give people the opportunity to contribute to a stable ecosystem and thus also to securing our livelihood.

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