Puttin' Up Peas


Went down to the MT Laurel Farmer's Market on Saturday morning to collect my 3 bushels of peas and lima beans - shelled for me by Mrs Caver's grand daughters, thankfully (and I stress "thankfully" - what a task!).   When I got them home, I saw what seemed to be a daunting task in front of me, so I decided to watch a few episodes of French Cooking at Home with Laura Calder, and squeeze in a nap.  3 Gigantic bags of peas and beans!!  I mean, there were so many that I had to enlist the assistance of a cooler to store them until I could get started.  There was no other way - I needed to just jump in and get on it.

First things first ... I gathered all my supplies.  In my short time as a "food preserver", one thing I have learned is that this is probably the most important step.  Nothing like washing only four half-pint jars and needing six.  My tools for this task:  
(1) large boiling pot
(1) colander
(1) glass bowl (for an ice bath)
(1) strainer
25 quart size Food-Saver bags 

This is really a simple process - although, it is kinda time consuming because it's best done in batches.  


(1)  Label your bags.  I have found, the hard way, that you want the writing to be done BEFORE you get your peas in there and "preserved" - nothing like trying to write on a bag of peas!

(2)  Bring to boil a large pot (I used my 8 qt Le Creuset Dutch Oven) of water - fill it up about 2/3 of the way; add about a tablespoon of salt (this is not a science). 

(3)  Add two quarts of peas to the boiling water.  Cover.  When the water comes back up to a boil, start your timer - you need about 90 seconds.  The idea here is not to "cook" the peas, but just to get them to the temperature to stop the activity of the enzymes (which will rot stored food) and kill the bacteria.   I used the boiling water pot for 3 or 4 rounds of peas.

Remove the peas to an ice bath with the strainer.   I like the colander-in-the-glass-bowl filled with ice, so you're not fishing out ice cubes all day long.   I also run my hands through the peas while they are under water to get them to cool quicker.  The ice bath activity will actually stop the cooking - yes, even when you take something away from the heat, it continues to cook (and lose the pretty bright coloring).  

Drain the water out very well (shake them in the colander).  This is super important because when you go to seal them with the Food-Saver, if there is any water still in there, the bags won't seal properly.

(4)  Once your peas are cooled, load them into your quart bags.  I used a 4c measuring cup to load the peas into the bags.  

(5)  Zip them up with the Food-Saver and get them into the freezer.

There you have it ... 1 quart of peas (I actually have 23 quarts of Lady Peas, Field Peas and Lima Beans after this weekend)!


Beautiful Field Peas

No comments:

Post a Comment