Hands up. Who else thought you couldn’t eat the pods? Who else discards them in vast quantities after gorging on the peas in a massive pod pea eating feast? For some reason I’d come to believe that the pods were poisonous and discarded tonnes of them over the years. I’m pretty sure it is tonnes of them too.
I’m pleased to say that ‘poddy pea’ (as we call them in our house) season is taking on the same significance for my 5 year old daughter as it did for me as a child. Nothing indicates the arrival of summer for me better than a large brown paper bag of poddy peas! It helped that my grandad was a green grocer and as soon as Easter was over I would ask him ‘when will poddy peas be ready?’ ‘Soon, soon’ was his non-committal reply. Then the day would arrive when he walked through the door with a massive bag full. They didn’t last long, and they still don’t!
So when I caught my youngest daughter indiscriminately chomping down on a pod my initial reaction was one of mild panic. Are they edible? I enquired, a tad too late! To which my mother responded, ‘yes, have you not heard of Pea Pod soup?’ Pea pod soup? As in soup made from the leftover pods? No, never! A quick glance on the internet confirmed this wonderful use of what would usually be thrown away. It’s pretty easy too…
Fry a finely chopped onion and garlic clove in butter/oil. Once softened, add the pods and sweat for a few minutes, add a sprig of mint and stock until the pods are covered, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes or so but not so much as to dull the colour of the pods. Season to taste. Blend and blend and blend and blend (the pods are staggeringly fibrous) and then strain. You’re left with a smooth, fresh summery soup. Add cream if you wish, serve warm or chilled with fresh mint and spring onion or some fried crumbled chorizo and almonds or a round of hot home made toast.