Seasonal Spotlight: Pea Shoots

Behold the new arrival in our CSA box this week: tender green pea shoots, a delightful sign of spring! These ones pictured are Dwarf Grey Sugar Peas, a type of snow pea used a lot in Asian cooking. They're delicate and sweet and taste much like the pea pods themselves. We like eating them in salads, sandwiches, egg or tofu scrambles, or using them as a pretty, edible garnish (check out these prosciutto and pea shoot roses).

Unlike pea sprouts, which are often marketed as "shoots," these leaves and tendrils are grown in the soil. (Sprouts, with their long stems and tiny leaves, are actually sprouted peas grown in water.) Like other microgreens, pea shoots are harvested at a very young age, just before the plant's true leaves emerge.

Grower Bruce Chan told us that "the two leaves you eat are called the cotyledons, which are the first two leaves that germinate out of a seed. These usually look – and taste – much different from the later true leaves that define a plant. These cotyledons are the leaves that are wrapped around the embryo of a seed, and emerge after exposure to moisture and heat." Truly the essence of spring!

(Note: If you live in Los Angeles, our CSA has just released new shares. For more information, visit Silver Lake Farms.)

Related: Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: Pea Shoots

(Image: Emily Ho)

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Shopping, Spring, Vegetables

Emily Ho is a Los Angeles-based writer, recipe developer, and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. She is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and Food Swap Network. Learn more at Roots & Marvel

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