Shoots and Later

When pea plants are about as tall as a butter knife, you can harvest their shoots. Not only do you get to eat more of the plant, you may encourage them to produce more peas. Pinch off the tendrils just above the second or third set of leaves. If the stem there feels tough, pinch above a higher leaf. From the junction where you just snapped the stem, new leaves will emerge and the plant will grow bushier. You can pick the tendrils again when the plants reach your shin. Once flower buds appear, leave them to grow into pods.

pick pea shoots just above a set of leaves

Stir fried or wilted pea greens are now as ubiquitous in American fine dining as in homestyle Asian cooking, where they’ve long been commonplace. Treat them like young spinach (with the flavor of fresh peas). Here is an easy recipe.