Last summer, I tried out a bunch of different edible legumes. The strangest of which was Tetragonolobus purpureus – the asparagus pea.
Asparagus peas are common in most books about strange and unusual vegetables but not so common in seed catalogs. I purchased my seed from Patrice at la Société des Plantes during a Seedy Sunday last year. (And now we’ve added it to our seed offerings.)
The Edible Asparagus Pea Pod
Folks claim you can lightly boil the young pods then eat them. And that they taste like asparagus.
The pods look like skinny 2-inch long pea pods with 4 wings sticking out.
We didn’t get around to boiling the asparagus peas but we did sample them raw.
If you have an excessively moist mouth, and are looking for something to suck all the moisture out and leave you all pasty, then asparagus peas are the vegetable for you.
Raw asparagus peas are incredibly astringent. I hope they are better cooked.
The Asparagus Pea Plant
This winter I mentioned to Patrice how astringent the pods were. He knew what I was talking about. He said that the growing tips of the stems were delicious in salads.
Next year we’ll sample the tips and make a more informed evaluation of asparagus pea culinary merits. In the meantime we have
The Asparagus Pea Flowers
And they are stunning.
These plants are definitely worth growing as a sprawling ornamental in the ground or in a container.
A Few Word About Growing Asparagus Peas
- are fairly cold hardy (like peas)
- can be sown directly outdoors or started indoors
- have mature seed by August near Montreal
There you have it – the asparagus pea: easy to grow, beautiful scarlet blooms, and great for excessively moist mouths.
Who else is a fan?