Asparagus peas

… are another of our novelty crops down the plot and the one that I was most excited about. Like the folk at cottage smallholder I had been drawn to their peculiar shape.  They’re like a cross between a pea and an x-wing but with frills. It was the description of them as a gourmet vegetable which tastes of asparagus which decided me to try them.

podsThey took longer than peas to germinate, with a higher failure rate. When they developed I discovered that they didn’t need a pea support either, they were sprawling self supporting plants, with the habit and leaves more akin to clover. The flowers are interesting and promised much, smaller than peas and a red which sits between brick red and burgandy.

asparagus pea plants

I waited to get a nice number of big juicy pods. Big pods = big mistake. They taste bitter and are woody. It was only when I checked out a couple of other sites that I discovered that they should be picked and eaten when they’re only an inch long. This is a sad thing, because this makes them super fiddly and they don’t look as impressive. Tastewise they do taste like a cross between a pea and asparagus when picked at the right size and sauteed. But I’m not sure that the taste is as good as either, and the novelty doesn’t really pay off the additional effort.

asparagus peasI’m coming to believe that one should stay clear of stranger vegetables that promise too much. Asparagus peas = not as tasty as either asparagus or peas. Strawberry spinach = nowhere near as useful or enjoyable as either strawberries or spinach. Maybe I should have paid more attention when someone told me the tale behind the naming of Greenland…

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