For a bit of greenery indoors and a future meal from out windowsill, we have been growing pea greens. They are simple to grow, take about 10 days until harvest, and when it’s time to harvest, my kids snip them with scissors. Then we let them regrow for a second harvest!
I use Dwarf Gray Peas from Johnny’s Seeds, in a pinch you could use the pea seeds from the garden center (you won’t find Dwarf Gray, but it would still work), but I usually grow 1 cup of peas at a time so I buy them in large quantities. Pea seeds don’t need any soil, but they do need something that will retain moisture – I have used soil and fallen leaves and unbleached paper towels as a growing medium. I often use an old Pyrex pan, but plastic take-out containers and their lids both make great growing containers.
Day 1: Soak 1 cup of pea seeds in 2 cups of water — they will double in size over the next 12 hours.
Day 2: Find a wide, shallow pan – I use a 9x13inch Pyrex pan. Sprinkle some soil on the bottom, or use two layers of paper towels. Drain the peas and spread them in the pan. They can be tightly spread, but if it’s more than 2 layers deep, find a bigger pan or divide them between two containers.
Water the seeds.
Cover the pan with a plastic bag – this will create a mini greenhouse and keep in the moisture for the first two or three days of growth. Some air will help keep mold from growing.
Day 4: Remove the plastic. Give a little water if it looks dry. Days 5-10: Water once a day, or twice if your home is very dry.
Harvest the peas when the leaves are open. You can harvest all the greens at once, or harvest over a few days. Use scissor to cut the stems, leave the roots in place and keep watering, they will regrow and you can harvest a second crop.
Home grown food definitely calls for my fanciest bowl and grandma’s salad tongs.
Trying to eat locally and seasonally seems daunting when you are feeding the picky three-year-old or the perpetually famished 13-year-old. Even trying to explain it to them (and why they don’t get cereal for breakfast) seems tough enough, let alone trying to source, shop, prep and cook local meals for your family. I’m not going to lie, it’s way easier to get the same grocery items week after week, and avoid the extra effort and drama that variety brings.
But you and I both know why eating locally is important, both for our community and our family. The question is how you can still keep your children fed and happy, especially when they need an after school snack – five minutes ago. Is there local snack food?
Glad you asked. Here is a list of some of our favorite snacks that we can source locally and/or make at home. I have left out the obvious fresh fruit & vegetables, but you already know you can serve your kids carrot sticks.
Baked apples or pears
Berries & whipped cream
Cheese & apples (cut apples into flat slices and eat it like a sandwich)
Cheese & tomato jam
Dried apple rings
Edamame (soybeans, steamed & salted)
Fruit leather (peach is our favorite)
Hard boiled eggs (or deviled eggs if you can manage mayonnaise*)
Mayo (oil, egg yolk, acid and salt. Oil and the acid would require exceptions or thoughtful sourcing)
Peaches and cream
Pickled cauliflower (fermented, takes well to any spice mix – my favorite is curry)
Pickled green beans (I ferment them in a salt/water brine, easier than cucumber pickles)
Popcorn (use lard or butter, plus salt and dried dill)
Popsicles (fruit, yogurt & honey)
Pumpkin custard (like the pie, but without a crust)