Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Carouby De Maussane Snow Peas

Step aside, Mammoth Melting. Here's an even bigger snow pea. Carouby de Maussane is a snow pea originally from Maussane, in the south of France, grown as far back as the 19th century. While I still think Mammoth Melting is a geat pea, we seem to have switched to Carouby de Maussane, which has  a few advantages over it. The pods are extremely tender and can get very large yet still be good quality. I did leave that one stretched across my thumb a bit too long, and it was developing fibrous strings around the edges. The plants don't get so tall as Mammoth Melting, although they will hit at least 5 feet. I think the overall yield is fairly similar, although it's hard for me to say for sure as this is the first year the deer have not eaten half the Carouby de Maussane - if it has a disadvantage, it's that it's extremely popular with the critters.

The flavour is perhaps not as sweet as some snow peas, but it lacks any bitterness either; the flavour is rich and green. Rebsy Fairholm didn't love it, but I do. They seem to produce for about a month, and start later than our other favourite snow peas, Norli, so between the two of them we get a good spread of availability. I have frozen a few, but haven't tried them yet. I suspect that they may not be the best for freezing since they are so very soft and tender - I am not sure they will hold up very well. But I have yet to see for sure.

Do not be misled  by the size of the pods into thinking that these do not need to be picked every day. Just like all the others, they must. Their enormous size is paced by their rapid growth, and it is easy to let them go too long by skipping picking for a day when they are in season.

There they are, along with a whole lot of other legumes. They are the batch at the end of bed depicted in the mid-ground, just behind the very warped support posts. Sharing the bed further along are the much rangier Sugar Magnolia. Still, Carouby de Maussane are tall enough that good support will be needed.

Plant them when you plant the rest of your peas, that is not too long affter the snow has melted and the soil is thawed and workable. Like most peas they prefer cooler weather, but they hold up better than most when the weather gets hot so it may be worthwhile to plant a second batch 2 to 4 weeks after the first batch to ensure a longer supply. They take about 70 days to maturity.

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