Pea shoots are sprouted from the small seed of the common sweet peapod. Peapods are botanically a fruit, though they are more often considered a vegetable in cooking. Pea shoots can be grown from nearly any pea variety and they all have different characteristics.
The term "pea shoots" is often used to describe the tendrils that develop off young pea plants in the spring. These shoots differ from the sprouted pea shoots in your box this week. Our pea shoots are the sprouted pea plant just above the soil, which, if left to grow, would produce a full plant, with tendrils and pea pods.
The pea is most commonly green, occasionally purple or golden yellow. It is a cool season vegetable crop; seeds may be planted as soon as the soil temperature reaches 10 degrees Celsius. Pea shoots sprout in seven days. They are ready to harvest when they are about five inches tall. To harvest, cut the stem at the ground line with a pair of scissors. Rinse the stems and refrigerate in a plastic bag or container. Do not throw the tray out yet! Let the tray continue to grow a second set of shoots in a few days. They will not be as tall, but the new shoots will be just as tasty as the first batch! Be sure to water the tray a little everyday.
Pea shoots taste exactly like peas, sweet and crisp, with a tender, juiciness that seems to burst in your mouth. They are delicious raw – fresh and almost thirst quenching – or cooked. Steamed, sautéed, or as a garnish to soup, pea shoots are versatile and never fail to please.
Sprouts are rich in digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals. Pea shoots have eight times more folic acid than bean sprouts, seven times more vitamin C than blueberries, and four times more vitamin A than tomatoes!