Shoots! Pass The Peas, Please
Hannah and James Huang grow fruit and vegetables on five acres in Kapahi and Kealia. Although they use some commercial fertilizer, they mostly fertilize with organic composted chicken manure made at their farm, as well as fishmeal and compost. The Huangs plant GMO-free seeds and do not use chemical pesticides, herbicides or fungicides at their farm.
What’s growing: Asparagus, amaranth, arugula, Asian greens, apple bananas, basil, beets, bok choi, broccoli, broccoli raab (Chinese broccoli), carrots, choi sum, coconuts, corn, cucumber, herbs, guava, lemon, lemon balm, lemon-grass, lettuce, mint, mustard greens, papaya, parsley, passion fruit, pea shoots, pomelo, radish, salad mix, scallions, strawberries, sunflower sprouts, thyme, tomatoes (heirloom, cherry and grape), zucchini.
Excavations in the Mediterranean and in Europe discovered peas were first consumed in 7,000 B.C.E. In classical Greece, peas were known as pison, translated into English as peason. During the reign of Charles I, they became known as pease, and by the 18th century, this was shortened to pea.
Pea shoots, also known as pea greens, are the baby leaves and stalks of the traditional garden pea plant. Crisp stalks and slender, curvaceous tendrils taste of the essence of peas, and are harvested just 10 days after planting.
Season: Pea shoots are a spring and fall crop, but if you live at high elevations, as the Huangs do, they can be grown year-round.
What to look for: Look for crisp stems no longer than 3 inches with bright green leaves and thin tendrils. Avoid pea shoots that are wilted, brown, yellow or mushy.
Storage: Refrigerate pea shoots in loose or perforated plastic bags, preferably in the vegetable bin, for up to five days.
Preparation: Pea shoots can be tossed in a light vinaigrette or soy sauce and sesame oil, and eaten raw. They can be layered onto sandwiches, added to egg salad, stirred through pasta or risotto, tossed in a stir-fry, baked with fresh fish or chicken, chopped and added to marinades, sauces and dressings, or used to make pesto. Pea shoots pair well with butter, olive oil, roasted peanut oil, sesame oil, sea salt, ginger, lemon, garlic, sesame seeds, mint, parsley, sage, cilantro, asparagus, artichokes and onions.
Health benefits: Pea shoots have high levels of vitamins C and A. Two ounces provide more than half of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C, one quarter of the RDA for vitamin A and significant amounts of folic acid.
Kaua’i Glory Farms produce can be found at: Island School; Farmers Markets: Koloa (Mondays at noon), Kukui Grove (Mondays at 3 p.m.), Waipa (Tuesdays at 2 p.m.), Kapaa (Wednesdays at 3 p.m.), Kilauea (Thursdays at 4:30 p.m.), Kaua’i Community College (Saturdays at 10 a.m.), Hanalei (Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.). Restaurants: Pacific Island Bistro, #1 BBQ. Distribution: Da Food Chain (an online ordering system that delivers local produce to your door) and Esaki’s Produce.
PEA SHOOT SALAD
This fresh salad for one makes a light meal and can be doubled easily. Serve it as a side salad, topping on grilled fish or chicken, or in a sandwich with the goat cheese spread on bread. Makes one serving.
* 2 ounces pea shoots
* 3 ounces peas, shelled, cooked and cooled
* 1 ounce Kaua’i Kunana Dairy goat cheese, room temperature
* 5 mint leaves, chopped
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
* Hawaiian sea salt
* freshly ground black pepper
Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper in a bowl. Add peas, pea shoots and mint, and toss through. Garnish with goat cheese.
Marta Lane is a Kaua’i-based food writer. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.