At the moment, you can’t always get what you want, when you want it, depending on timing and local availability. But you can have a go at growing your own vegetables, albeit on a small scale, provided that you have access to a windowsill which receives at least some sunlight.
The picture is of marrowfat peas, the kind that is bought dried, soaked overnight and made into mushy peas. However, if you plant them after soaking you can grow them instead for a supply of pea shoots. Press them closely together in a shallow container full of compost without drainage holes (discarded food packaging will do), and leave them to grow. Even if some peas are placed upside down, the root will emerge and find its way into the soil to anchor the plant. Then the first leaves will emerge – the cotyledons which are contained within the seed itself – before the first true leaves emerge.
When the plant is about 4″ tall, it can be snipped off and sprinkled over a salad, tossed into a soup just before serving to add interest or put on a sandwich for flavour and texture. If you leave them to grow too tall, the stems become stringy, so eat them young. The peas in this picture were, it is true, helped along by being placed in a heated propagator; but when the warm weather comes, the ambient temperature will be sufficient to ensure they germinate without going mouldy which is what happens when it is too cold.
These ones may look a bit ropy, but this is actually the second cropping. the shoots having already been harvested once. If you don’t cut too low, there is every chance of a second crop if the plants are watered and kept warm enough.
Other culinary seeds such as fenugreek and brown mustard can be sprouted in this way. It is also worth trying to grow micro-greens from leftover food seeds you have at home such as beetroot, cabbage and cauliflower, for an authentic Shoreditch experience (as was). Just remember these have a delicate flavour which would be destroyed by cooking, so add them to the dish right at the end.
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