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)