Pea shoots are the delicate tendrils of any garden pea variety, and attached to it are young leaves and buds or blossoms. Pea shoots you buy from the market or grocery usually comes from sugar snap peas or snow peas.
Species: P. sativum
Binomial name: Pisum sativum
Pea Shoot Trivia
- The use of pea shoots as a culinary ingredient started in 1992 in the US.
- Growers like using Oregon Giant to grow and harvest pea shoots because this cultivar is a disease-resistant bush snow pea. As the name suggests, this was developed at Oregon State University.
Pea Shoot Buying Guide
The best source for fresh pea shoots is the local farmers market although groceries and supermarkets also have packaged pea shoot stock. Buy pea shoots that look fresh. Check it for bruises. Avoid wilted pea shoots or those that have discoloration.
When buying pea shoots, know that products marked as pea tendrils, pea greens, or pea tips are also pea shoots. However, do not confuse pea sprouts with pea shoots. Sprouts are thin stems of a very young pea plant bearing two tiny leaves, while pea shoots are from a more mature pea plant.
Pea Shoot Production & Farming in Texas
Grow pea shoots in loamy soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. It can survive with full sun or partial sun exposure. Peas generally grow in hardiness zones 2 to 9. This means it grows in Texas since the hardiness zone spectrum covering Texas ranges from 6 to 9B. If you are planning to grow pea shoots, some recommended cultivars you should try include Oregon Giant, Snowgreen, and Cascadia.
In Texas, Hoss Microgreen Farms in Southlake, Texas is selling pea shoots. This is also available at Rainbow Greens in Austin, Texas, and in Righteous Greens in Dripping Springs, Texas. If you do not want to cook, then there are restaurants in Texas that serve pea shoots. Knife Dallas has pea shoots with pea sorbet on the menu, while the Lucky Dragon Chinese Restaurant along Bellaire Boulevard in Houston, Texas, serves stir-fried pea shoots. Because of the delicious taste of pea shoots, expect to find more stores and restaurants selling pea shoots, raw or cooked.
Use pesticide as a last resort when managing pests, if other organic and non-chemical interventions didn’t work. Some of the pests that will threaten peas include aphids and Mexican bean beetles.
- Aphids – Kill aphids using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
- Mexican bean beetle – Use Kaolin clay, Beauveria bassiana, and/or botanical insecticides. The use of man-made pesticide carbaryl is the solution to get rid of beetles. Other options include pyrethroid insecticides like cyfluthrin and Lambda cyhalothrin, pesticide malathion, pyrethrin spray, permethrin insecticide, and spinosad.
Peas are not difficult to grow. This is why it is grown in different countries and regions all around the world. The United States along with China, India, Canada, Russia, and France are among the major producers of peas. We can expect a high yield from its pea shoot harvest in these countries too.
Pea shoots are sold in transparent plastic clamshell packaging.
Enjoying Pea Shoots
You can eat pea shoots raw or cooked. Just make sure you do not have an allergic reaction to eating peas. If you are foraging for food, make sure the pea shoots you harvested and plan to eat come from peas that are edible and safe. In a peer-reviewed article produced jointly by the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, and Washington State University, the authors warned the public to “not use sweet peas for pea shoot production” because “the flowering sweet pea cultivars (Lathyrus odoratus) and other Lathyrus spp. are NOT safe to eat because they contain a neurotoxic amino acid that some people react negatively to.”
Wrap the pea shoots in a paper towel. Place them inside a plastic bag and keep the bag open. Put the bag inside the refrigerator. It is best if you cook this within 1 to 2 days, otherwise, the quality of the pea shoots will start to degrade the longer it stays in the refrigerator. It is not meant to be stored for long.
You can use pea shoots as garnish. Add fresh pea shoots on vegetable salads (this goes well with arugula, spinach, asparagus, and avocado, to name a few) or sandwiches. Always make sure that you have washed your pea shoots thoroughly before using them raw. You can also cook pea shoots but don’t cook them for too long or else it will lose its crunchy texture and it will become soggy. For example, you can put these in when you are making scrambled eggs or lightly cook with butter and garlic as a side to baked, steamed, or fried salmon.
Eating pea shoots helps keep the body cancer-free. It also helps protect the integrity of the DNA. Pea shoots do this through the folate, antioxidants, and carotene they contain.
When Are Pea Shoots in Season in Texas?
To find out when Pea Shoots are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.