Palo Verde Peas

piranhafemJune 9, 2012

Did you know that the seeds of the palo verde tree are edible, and delicious?

You have to pick them at just the right time: the pods must be green, and the seeds inside must not be too big. Once the seeds get super fat, they are too tough, although still sweet inside. The ideal stage is when they are just starting to plump up, but are still relatively flat and lozenge-shaped. Once the pods are picked, shell them ASAP. It's just like shelling garden peas, although the pods are a little bit tougher.

Palo verde peas are brilliant green and amazingly sweet, with a flavor that's hard to describe. I like them best raw, as a snack or on a salad. If you cook them, the less cooking time, the better; they lose their color quickly. I made brown rice, stirred it into a pan of sauteed mushroom and onion, then stirred in half a cup of palo verde peas and turned off the heat. They warmed up but kept their color, sweetness, and "pop".

So far the only PVPs I've eaten are from my "Desert Museum" hybrid. Anyone out there have a Foothills or Blue palo verde with tasty seeds? They are a bit time-consuming to pick and shell, but worth it.

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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I have a DMPV and I have never seen pods on it. Got tons of pods on what's supposed to be lysiloma, but nothing on the palo verde. What gives?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 2:08PM
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Huh, no idea! Mine flowers gorgeously, and bears lots of seed pods. Maybe some of them are sterile?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 7:24PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Oh, it flowers all right! The yard in all directions is a carpet of dried gold blossoms. But there is not a pod in sight. I've had the tree for years and never knew it was supposed to make beans. ????

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 7:38PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Cool information, thanks!

'mater, the Desert Museums are noted for very few pods.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 10:21PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I'll say "very few pods" - I went out to look and actually found two! One had two beans, the other had one. Hardly a snack.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 11:49PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Well, and it's a "complex" hybrid with possibly 3 parents, so you haven't a good idea of what you're eating, lol. I'd stick to edamame for you!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 12:28PM
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I'm very happy that mine makes LOTS of pods. It takes a lot to make a cup of peas. I was thinking of getting more of these trees, good to know they might not be pod-bearing.

I like palo verde peas much better than edamame!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 2:33PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Great information on eating the green Palo verde seeds, piranha! I'll give it a try some time. They sound delicious, especially in the recipe you shared. I've heard of folks using dried mesquite beans for different culinary uses, but I haven't heard of eating green unripe PV seeds. Thanks for sharing!

Take care and happy eating everyone,

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 8:10PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I neglected to say, I ate all three peas. They were tasty, but I think it will be edamame for me.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 8:19PM
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Love them -- have tried both blue palo verde and foothills. I am also unfortunate enough to have jerusalem thorn, and tried one of those as well, but since I haven't seen it on any list of local edibles I just popped it in my mouth (a moment of curiousity) and spat it out as if that would somehow stop any harmful effects. Have desert museum and will try them next year.

My only complaint is that they are kinda hard to shell. Up soon: mesquite bean harvest.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 1:34AM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

LOL - Desert museum is the one that *barely* gets pods. If you want some you can always come and get them off of my trees, I have about 10 of 'em.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 4:46PM
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Edible, yes. Delicious? meh!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 4:05PM
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kathleen10(z9b AZ)

I just tried the Foothills (green) palo verde beans this year. Can't believe I never realized before that they were edible. They were sweet and like a cross between edamame and fresh peas. So far I've only added them to a fresh salsa/quac (tomato with avocado, fresh sweet corn and PVBs) but it was tasty. I put 2 cups of them into the freezer for salads and stuff.

I agree, the shucking is unbelievably time consuming but it is a bit easier if they are blanched for a minute.

I have foothills, blue and Mexican PVs but only tried the foothills. By the time I decided to try them, the blue was too far dried out and the Mexican has too few on our couple of sparse trees.

I understand you can grind the whole dried PV beans just like they do with mesquite. Have known that a long time and just this year realizes - duh, the fresh green pods might be nice! However, I've seen the little bugs that invade these dried pods (any pods PV, mesquite or otherwise) and I really don't like the idea of grinding them up too. Ew, just sort of sticks in the craw!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 3:47AM
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Kathleen, somehow I had never heard you can grind the whole dried pod, too. I may have to try that with the ones I didn't get around to picking when they were green. With mesquite pods, I find that if you leave them laying around for a while, all the bugs hatch and leave anyway! But if any are still in there, I say, extra protein. :-)

I shelled my palo verde peas in the evening while I watched TV. I got faster with practice, and it made my "down time" productive.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 3:20PM
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