Wednesday, October 20

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 develops for The Tennessee Magazine recipes that feature farm-fresh Tennessee food. Those fresh, local ingredients will always add cleaner, more flavorful foods to your table. We recommend visiting local farms and farmers markets to find the freshest seasonal produce. For more information about our recipes, contact Algood at

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