Saturday, 27 August 2011
These peas are believed to have come from an Irish Vegetable research project, although information is sparse and rather vague. I got my seeds via the Heritage Seed Library. They are quite novel compared to most modern peas, very large seeded, mealy peas that are flat and with a black hilum (the little scar where the pea attaches to the pod) that give them the appearance of small broad beans. They are a little like the Dutch Capucijners although the pods are green and not blue and there are other peas with similar characteristics in collections in the States and Canada. Of course, those were probably taken across with settlers in the past so the history remains cloudy, were the Preans some sort of reselection of an older type or new breeding from old varieties? If anyone knows I'd love to hear from them.
The plants are sturdy steady growers, big fleshy plants that will make two metres in height if they're well supported. The flowers are pink and dark red. Rather slow growing, my plants also suffered from mildew during growth although this doesn't seem to have caused them much check. I planted the seeds on 21st April and harvested today. There are still some greeny pods left. Most pods had 5 or 6 peas inside but a few were stuffed with as many as 8.
This year I didn't take any for the kitchen as I was growing for seed but the ones I had last year were very good as hearty marrowfats cooked with other vegetables in stews or just eaten raw. The pods can be eaten as mangetout when young but I think they will do best as a drying pea for the winter.