Monday, October 14, 2013

Harvesting Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas deserve their standing as a permaculture favorite. These plants grow fast, last for years, fix nitrogen, can be used as a "green manure" to feed other plants, can be grown as a hedge to block pigs' access, plus the peas are delicious. The pea can be used fresh, like other shelled peas or edamame soy beans, or allowed to dry on the plant to be used as a bean. Here in the windward tropics, using them fresh is much easier.

a beautiful day for harvesting pigeon peas
Our plants had two harvests this year, on in May and one in October. It takes a while to pick and shuck the peas, but it is easy, pleasant work with great reward.

pigeon peas on the plant

The pods are ready to pick when they reach full size. I like to gently squeeze the pods to see if the peas are filling out the bulges in the shell. Sometimes a pod can look ready, but the peas inside are still small.

shucking pigeon peas

I rinse the pods and leave them an hour or so to dry a bit. To shuck the peas, pry the two haves of the pod apart - it gives easily. Each pea needs to be freed from the pod.

quinoa salad with pigeon peas

I used these pigeon peas to make a simple salad with quinoa, carrot, olive, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar. The peas a lightly steamed. In the past, we've used them in soup, stir fry, and on salads. Yum!

The internet is full of great pigeon pea resources and recipes. Here are a few of my faves:

basic information from
nutrition information from
pigeon pea recipes from