|(Just between you and me, I LOVE that man's hands!)|
Green peas, sweet peas, English peas, spring peas, garden peas... whichever nomenclature you give them, a pea by any other name would still be pea green... and yummy beside a scoop of mashed potatoes and a slice of meatloaf, or added to the creamy sauce in a chicken pot pie.
On a recent trip to the Farmers Market, we became the proud owners of a half bushel of peas! My able assistant, the love of my life, my dear husband announced that while I worked on other canning projects, he would shell those peas for me to can later.
He gathered a large bowl for the pods and a colander for the peas... turned the television to his favorite channel and sat back and began the pea shelling...
Remember the movie Driving Miss Daisy? There's a scene in that movie that I was reminded of as I watched DH's pea shelling preparations... Hoke and Idella (the housekeeper) were sitting in the kitchen watching their soaps while Idella shelled peas in a colander in her lap... sort of the same way DH was doing. I began calling him Idella... "Idella you're doing a great job there!"
That sweet man was persistent... though he did take a lot of breaks... once he stopped for awhile and drifted off for a short nap with a half-filled colander in his lap and I was even more reminded of Idella and her pea shelling... you see, in the scene from the movie, Idella's chin dropped to her chest, the colander dropped to the floor, and peas scattered everywhere... Idella had passed away shelling peas. Needless to say, I quickly woke up my Idella and requested (strongly!) that if he planned to take a nap to please set the pea bowl elsewhere. (yes, I was a little freaked out!)
By the time I was finished with my other project, that dear persistent man had all those peas shelled and ready for me to begin my part of the process.
Here's what I did...
I washed and sterilized my pint canning jars and kept them hot until I was ready for them.
I put my lids and rings in water on the stove and brought them to a simmer, keeping them hot as well.
Then I rinsed the peas several times, removing any loose bits of pod, leaves, grit, etc.
I poured them into a saucepan and covered them with water and heated them to a boil.
Once the peas reached a boil, I removed them from the heat and drained them through the (cleaned and rinsed!) colander, draining the liquid into another saucepan (don't discard the liquid, it will be used in just a sec).
I filled the pint jars loosely with the peas to within about a half inch from the rim.
Then, using the cooking liquid I had drained earlier, I filled the jars, leaving a half inch of head space and covering the peas with the liquid. I made sure there were no air pockets.
I added a half teaspoon of canning salt to each pint jar (quarts would need a teaspoon).
I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth.
I tightened the lids onto the jars using a fingertip tightness.
Green peas are a low-acid vegetable and must be pressure canned, so I got out my pressure canner, and, following the directions that came with my brand of canner, I loaded the jars of peas into the canner.
I processed my jars at 10 pounds of pressure for 40 minutes. After the process was complete, I removed the canner from the heat and let it cool on its own, the pressure returning to ZERO, before removing the lid and lifting the jars out with my jar lifter and placing the jars on a folded dish towel to cool and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar. (have I said I LOVE that sound? I do!)
After a long afternoon of pea shelling and canning, and even after an interrupted nap, both Idella and I slept well that night, with the satisfyingly productive feeling of teamwork and a job well done!