It is the time of year when we can FINALLY enjoy the fruits of our labor! The peas are coming into maturity and are at a stage when they can be picked for fresh eating. Peas, locally know as alberjon, are frost tolerant and are able to complete most of their life cycle before the irrigation water runs out.
It is important to look for the peas that are just right. The ones shown above are too young yet but will be a perfect size in just a few days. Alberjon can be picked almost every day for a couple of weeks to get the peas that are ready. When picking alberjon, it is important to hold the stem of the legume where it is attached to the plant and to pick the legume off without damaging the plant. Once the legume of the pea starts to turn a dull green yellow color and starts to look more defined and hardened compared to the younger ones, then that legume is pasado, or past its prime, and should be left for seed or dry peas. You will know the difference between peas that are ready and those that are past by the taste: ones that are ready are sweet and ones that are past taste more starchy. Allowing the crop to mature will make more dry peas that can also make an excellent split pea soup that is made by running the dry peas through the course setting on a grain mill. The pea is split in the mill and the separated seed hull breaks off and can be winnowed away with a fan or the wind.