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Mushy Peas

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Mushy Peas

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Mushy Peas

Often virulently green, undeniably squishy, a favourite accompaniment to your fish and chips: what exactly are mushy peas? And as peas, what relation do they bear to the non-mushy kind?

Well, the peas that become mushy begin life as dried marrowfat peas. Marrowfat peas are mature peas that have been allowed to dry out naturally in the field, rather than be harvested in their prime of youth like the garden pea. Their unusual name comes from the Japanese who introduced the maro pea 100 years ago, encouraging us to grow nice fat maros in the suitable English climate.

The dried marrowfat peas are soaked overnight in water and bicarbonate of soda. The bicarbonate breaks the peas down to give them that all-important mushiness. Next, they are boiled and then simmered for varying lengths of time. Some people recommend one to two hours, others a brisk 20 minutes. The trick to really good mushy peas. please note, is to leave the seasoning to the very end and then add a knob of butter. Enjoy!


Your comments

The flat cap, whippet and mushy peas era, conjures up the very epitome of the English working class. This is Britain at its most stoical the image of the man in the street who worked down the mines, in steel works or marched off to war with the same phlegmatic Britishness that epitomises our nation.

Stan Rawlinson

Hmmm, mushy peas. Great with fish 'n chips. Or with a pie.
Sean Brown

My Australian wife can never understand my obsession with mushy peas and chips - stodge she tells me. But what stodge looks or tastes the same and can provide such satisfaction on a cold damp day? It just stands out every time you serve it.
Sean Duggan

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My nomination is the garden shed.