Pigeon Peas

Peas & Pumpkin.A bowl of fresh podded PIGEON PEAS and a Kobocha pumpkin.Both waiting to go into the pot.
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  • i harvested a barrow load of Pigeon pea stems today. Sort of anyway. From the bushes at the school garden.

    There are Pigeon Peas and there are pigeon peas...and after a few years of growing them I now focus on the cultivar(one) I prefer.

    For pea size, flower colour and growth habit. Two actually: one has smaller pods but same size peas...and there are more pods on the bush.

    All I have to do now is shell the buggers. I'll be using the dried pods among the harvest for replanting here and sharing with friends over the range.

    Cut backs-- and the pealed pod casings -- makes for great mulch. You can be very aggressive with the secateurs as legumes are so masochistic.curry-pigeon-peas-9.jpg?width=300

    When you harvest  the pods, leave them to sit for a couple of days so that the pod cover dries a bit. That makes them easier to shell without harm  to the peas inside.

    While Pigeon Peas make for a staple and popular dal in India(known as arhar dal or split toor (tuvar) dal), in the Caribbean the culinary excitement begins.  Here's some examples: LINK.

    Tonight I threw in a handful with the steamed rice. But once I've shelled a lot more, the menu really takes off as this Trinidadian recipe (image at right) celebrates.

    Compared to other legumes, I appreciate the texture of PPs without that moreish hit  you get from New World beans.

    "The pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) is a perennial legume from the family Fabaceae. Since its domestication in the Indian subcontinent at least 3,500 years ago, its seeds have become a common food in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It is consumed on a large scale mainly in south Asia and is a major source of protein for the population of the Indian subcontinent."

    You do need to shell your peas then freeze the greens as they'll only dry out if you don't.

    You can buy frozen green PPs from Indian/Fijian grocers -- while the dried peas you can get there may be good eating,they make poor seed planting stock. Online offers of different variety mixes are a bit disappointing I've found, unless you are prepared to grow and select for type.

    Just like Gregor Mendel.


  • GOOD YEAR FOR PIGEON PEAS.After a few years of growing them, the trick definitely is to save your best for seed.

    With the school garden harvest (yet to do) -- 7 bushes -- I'm gonna freeze these green peas. They cut back well and supply a serviceable mulch. You need to feel the pods and pick them when the peas' contour are large inside but do so before drying sets in.

    As well as a range of pole green beans I have Andrews fav, Madagascar (Lima) beans, and LabLab -- Hyacinth Bean -- growing  keenly. The green pea options aren't so gregarious.

    The pumpkin is picked a little early (it should be red/orange) but it still worked in the stew. Just the right size for a meal. I really like these: Hokkaido/Red Kuri/Kobocha.

    While I'm on a show-and-tell, my Agati seeds (Sesbania grandiflora /Hummingbird tree) have taken  and I'll be planting those out ASAP -- ie: as soon as I don't drown doing so.

    'Tis another legume tree (image at right).

    "...the young leaves, flowers and tender pods are all favourite Asian vegetables. In Thailand, the flowers are called dok khae, in Vietnam they are called so dua and in Indonesia they are known as bunga turi or kembang turi. The leaves contain over 36% crude protein (dry weight) and with their high mineral and vitamin content, they make a nutritious, spinach-like vegetable."

    In India Agati is used as  a shade tree for vegetables  growing beneath -- planted across a bed at intervals.

    1219757028?profile=RESIZE_480x480Agati used as a hedgerow in Lombok, Indonesia (top)

    and as a pruned hedge (below).

    In like mode, my native hibiscus is powering along but I cannot bring myself to harvest and eat the stunning flowers. From one plant, I've already struck 5 cuttings.

    It loves growing here and makes a quick screening or specimen plant.

    Not so good are my attempts at growing Feijoa, Goji Berry and  Custard Apple from seed.

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