Here is the promised review of the peas growing in the Pigeon Proof Pen, I've introduced them in their flowering stage: Curruther's and Robinson; Shiraz and Tutankhamun; and Salmon Flowered.
Here are their pods . . . definitely not all alike!
Tutankhamun's pods all develop near the top of the plant, the pods are medium sized, straight and usually in pairs. The pale green peas inside are beautifully sweet and have a classic pea flavour - perfect to sprinkle in a salad without even needing to cook.
If you want to win a prize at the village show, grow Robinson! the pods are magnificent – they grow singly on long stalks, the pod is attractively long and curved and contains up to a dozen beautiful bright green peas which have an excellent fresh garden-pea flavour.
After the clusters of gorgeous flowers, the petite pods of the Salmon Flowered pea, develop in clusters at the top of the plants. These are perfect pea pods in miniature and when young the peas are sweet and very flavoursome. Older pods will contain firm round peas which are lovely added to pot-cooked pork or chicken dishes.
Shiraz is the first purple podded pea commercially marketed as a 'mangetout', these pods here have gone over – you need to catch them young before the peas start to swell to use them as 'mangetout' but I can confirm that stir-fried or steamed the young pods remain blue-purple in colour but don't have the flavour of a classic green mangetout like Carouby de Maussane. At this later stage the peas can be shelled - they are sweetish but lacking in a good pea flavour. Next year I will grow a green mangetout alongside so I can use a mix of the two and have the flavour and the novelty colour to use together.
Curruther's is an old fashioned purple podded variety with tough leathery pods – these are translucent and become more red as they age, with a pale bloom on the outside. The peas inside are pale pea-green and tightly pack the pod; even at this stage the peas taste sweet with only a slight mealiness. Cooked, the peas change to sage-green in colour but don't be put off - the flavour remains very good.
I can't resist snacking on a few pods of peas when I check the Pigeon Proof Pen, and there are plenty for using in our suppers. I will of course be saving a few pods for seed for next season . . . the new pea in the pen, Robinson, is a keeper and I'll save most of this year's modest trial harvest to sow next year.