Agriculture Ecology Food Regenerative

Pigeon Peas

If you live in the UK and you are trying to do your bit for the environment when it comes to food there are a few critical steps you can make.

  • Eat less meat. In the UK grams consumed per day per person decreased from 103.7 in 2008 to 86.3 in 2018. [I’ve seen a different set of figures for more recent years which don’t match up with these – but the trend is downwards.]
  • Eat local. This is, sadly, one of the areas in which Organic trips up. A lot of Organic food travels a long way. [You want to ask yourself, “How much petroleum is in this avocado?”]
  • Choose “sustainable” food. This is the most controversial of the lot. There’s no certification system in place for food which alleges it is sustainable yet. So, regrettably, claims for it mean very little. [My own idea would be to have a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ format where growers and farmers would get a star for fulfilling set criteria. Using cover crops? One star. No chemicals? One star. No or shallow till? One star. Applying Organic matter to the soil? One star. That kind of thing…]

Ensconced in this futuristic landscape – something like a gleaming eco building perched on top of a hillock – is the company Hodmedods. Their remit is “Pulses, Grains, Seeds, Flour & More from British Farms.” The nub of this, if it even needs spelling out, is P-R-O-T-E-I-N. These days, rather than getting excited about the latest Trap single, I find an organisation like theirs a more interesting proposition.

Recently Hodmedods entered into partnership with the British high street store Holland & Barrett. H&B have decided to refresh their brand by getting back to their roots as a wholefood store. We could articulate this as Hodemedods X H&B. The “collab” manifests as an offering of ten products – which contains four legumes (those are the one which contain protein and are therefore good alternatives to meat).

Right away I liked the look of the Carlin Peas, which are most well-known as Pigeon Peas. These are described as having been traditional fare and grown in the North of England. They are a variety of common pea (Pisum sativum), a different species from the West African pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan).

I soaked my Peas for 24 hours. The wrapper says they need a lot less – but I beg to differ. They need more to be soft enough to then simmer.

And then, once softened, I cooked them with garlic, onions, and cumin. They were really delicious; nutty is the word that’s often used. We had them with some cod. That pretty much defeated the purpose but we’ll get there yet!