Cook a mess


August is the most plentiful month of the year for fresh produce of all kinds. That includes all the terrific varieties of peas that Tennesseans love to use all thrown together to cook a “mess.” It’s one of the simplest methods to enjoy fresh peas and one that hasn’t needed much improvement since pioneer days.

When August’s abundance starts to become too much, there’s an equally easy way to preserve excess peas for later in the year: Dry them right on the vine. Just let those crowders, purple hulls, black-eyed peas and their cousins hang out together in the garden. Don’t pull the pea pods off the vine until you can shake the pods and hear the peas rattle in their husks. Fresh shelled peas are also easy to bag up and freeze. It’s easy to make a mess of peas … but hard to mess up!

See our video on how to make your own “mess.” Visit or use the free “Pick TN” mobile app to find farmers markets and other places where seasonal produce and local foods are sold.



About Author

Tammy Algood

Originally from Starkville, Miss., Tammy Algood has a Bachelor’s of Science from Mississippi State University and a Master’s from Middle Tennessee State University. She writes about food for The Tennessean and monthly for The Tennessee Magazine. Broadcast appearances include Nashville’s local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates as well as statewide on PBS. Tammy can also be seen nationally on the HGTV and DIY networks.

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