The Lost Art of Shelling Peas

This year, I had reasonable success growing peas in my allotment and picked a batch to eat with my lunch. However as I was shelling them, I realised I was making a bit of a hash of it. Shouldn’t this be easy? Some kind of ingrained basic skill for preparing food that we should be able to just do, effortlessly? Apparently not! I have on occasion successfully grown peas and have picked and shelled them but it’s only for a short time frame each year. I usually just have a packet of frozen peas sitting in the bottom door of my freezer for a vegetable emergency.

Shelling peas is definitely a rare occurrence for me, as I’m sure it now is for most people. I do have a vague memory of helping my mum shell peas when I was little, as in ‘needing to stand on a chair to see over the counter’ little but then pre-shelled, packaged peas must have appeared and that was the end of our pea shelling days.


There are so many things we now have for ‘convenience’, so much pre-washed, pre-prepared, pre-cooked food. The Internet means that we don’t even have to leave the house. But what exactly are we doing with all this extra time? Watching NetFlix? Playing Candy Crush on the phone? Staring at social media?

Our priorities have changed. But have they changed for the better? How many times do you say you don’t have the time to do things that would benefit you? Like cooking a simple meal from scratch, going to a yoga class, playing a game with the kids. We often forget what’s really important; our health and wellbeing, quality time with family and friends, etc...

Food plays an enormous role in our health and wellbeing. We all know we need food to eat and survive but it’s so much more than that. Food is one of the ways we restore prana, our life force energy in the body. Not all food is full of prana. And it’s not just the type of food, but also how it is prepared. Fruit and veg are great sources of prana but that can change depending on how fresh they are and how they have been prepared. Processed food and anything heated in a microwave loses it’s prana. Fresh food, mindfully prepared is full of prana as well as nutrients helping you to live a healthy and vibrant life.

Mindful Preparation

Shelling peas or chopping vegetables may seem like a waste of time, but the repetitive task done with full attention is a mindfulness meditation in itself. If you can keep that attention and really become absorbed in the task, finding a sense of peace in the preparation, then that positive energy will also go into the food.

Eating too much raw food isn’t good for wellbeing (with the exception of fruit) as the body expends energy warming it. So cooking most, if not all of your meals is highly recommended. In Ayurveda, it is said that food should ideally be close to the body’s temperature when it is eaten.

Cooking or steaming vegetables is a good option. If you grow your own you may notice that they require less cooking time. I have eaten many an overcooked courgette before I remembering this!

Finding Fresh Produce

If you are able to grow some of your own food, then that enables you to connect to your food from the start and gives a huge amount of satisfaction. I didn’t like cooking until I started to grow my own vegetables. Picking it yourself and seeing exactly how the fruit or vegetable forms on the plant adds an extra dimension to your meals.

If you have kids or grandchildren, then getting them involved means they start to understand where food comes from and gets them away from screens for a while. Would your children or grandchildren know what a peapod was if you put it in front of them?

Growing your own food isn’t possible for everyone. But if you are lucky enough to have a farm shop or farmers market nearby, then that can be a great option. There are also so many companies that deliver fresh and seasonal produce to your door. However, if the supermarket is the best option for you, try to head for the fresh fruit and veg aisle rather than the freezer section or ready meals and take a moment to think about what you are buying rather than goind into autopilot and let the connection begin there...


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