Friday, January 25, 2013

Peas Versus Rice

In my ongoing fictional TEOTWAWKI story, Wendy's Colony, I am about to run out of rice!  This will have dire consequences, as without imports, trades, or any form of supply depot, rice can not be replaced in our area, at least not in the sort of volume we are accustomed to consuming.

Rice has been a staple in our home made dog food, doggy stew, for several years.  The birds get a nice scoop of doggy stew every day through the winter too, and then there are all the ways we humans eat rice here as well.  What would we do without rice?

As I was making Husband a pot of pea soup this week, it occurred to me that I could easily grow and store the peas for the little bit of pea soup we eat each winter, rather than buying them.  In truth, I could probably make a pot of pea soup from the peas I saved for seed this year, and still have enough to plant come spring.  And that's without even really trying- just the peas that we miss while picking fresh peas to eat raw, that get too fat and mature to eat the way we like.  With just the slightest bit of effort and maybe another row or two in the garden, I could easily harvest enough dried peas to feed the beasts all winter.  Peas grow incredibly well here, and I don't even have to bend over to pick them!

So what about nutrition?  According to wikipedia- White Rice versus Green Peas, rice is a little higher in energy, while peas are higher in carbs, sugar, and protein.  Peas also seem to win on the vitamin and mineral content.  There's an interesting article on the history of pea soup as well.  Somewhere along the line a nutritious winter staple became a rare winter treat.

Ok, so I'm comfortable with the nutritional value, the question is, what will the dogs think?  Well, they certainly have no issue with gobbling up leftovers :)  They don't get gassy upset stomachs like they are prone to with beans, either.  A quick internet search reveals peas as a suitable veggie treat for dogs. 

I think I will start mixing some dried peas into the doggy stew pot overnight, and gradually increase the amount they eat over the next few weeks.  If they do well, we may have a solution.

Now what about us?  I don't think pea soup will ever be a suitable replacement for chicken fried rice, however having a pot of soup (pea or otherwise) on the stove at all times is an age old tradition.  Soup before or with a meal would probably be sufficient to replace the need for a side dish like rice. 

Cabbage rolls?  I think oats would be better suited than peas.  Oatmeal works well in meatballs, meatloaf and salisbury steak.  More growing to do!

Cream of mushroom rice?  Well, we won't have any mushrooms to worry about, unless I find someone in the woods someday who will teach me whats safe to eat. :(  Or unless I get off my butt and finally do something about growing my own.  Not in the plans for this year though.


  1. If you are running low on rice, maybe you can use the rice through the winter or until the next harvest or access by using half peas/half rice.

    The Wikipedia article was interesting.

    Are you talking about the food that comes also in cans, that I call English peas? Mama never grew them, but they were one food we ate from the can rather than growing. I hope peas never become a necessary staple. My body and one daughter's body outright rejects green peas. If I had no rice, maybe other beans would work for me as a substitute.

    My friend's grandson hated peas and would gag as he carried his peas to the dog bowl and dumped them in with other leftovers and dog food. Later, the dog had managed to separate the peas from the other food and left them neatly to one side of the dog bowl. This was a dog who ate anything, just not peas, ever. Hopefully, your dogs don't have pea aversion.

    I love most beans and other peas, but green peas come right back up.

    1. In the story there won't be another harvest in the foreseeable future. Rice doesn't grow around here.

      Yes and no, lol. Yes, technically, those are the same peas. They are delicious raw, straight from the garden, very sweet. We hate them cooked. It does something to the flavour that we just don't appreciate. The same peas are used to make pea soup, but they're dried for storage like a bean. Pea soup has a different taste again, from raw peas or cooked peas.

      As I said, they haven't shown any aversion to leftovers, so I expect the flavour is fine by them.

      Do you eat pea soup?

    2. Do I eat pea soup? Not in this lifetime, I won't. I don't eat any kind of bean or pea soup. I just prefer navy, lima, Great Northern, blackeyed peas, field peas, crowder peas cooked with no salt at all. I love the taste without the salt. I can eat green beans raw.

      The green peas that we call English peas does a number on my gastric system.

      I finally figured out where the chapter list for your story is located. I felt really dumb.

  2. My family loves split pea soup but I have yet to manage to grow enough for fresh eating much less to dry. And price per pound to buy them is outrageous. One of the areas we need to work on.

  3. As a possible substitute for rice, you could try bulgur wheat. That is wheat that has been cracked, parboiled and dried again. It has about the same cooking time as brown rice. Since red winter wheat grows in Canada, it should be readily available at any natural food store. A few years back I ordered a 50# bag through our local health food store for a Kurdish family who had been relocated to WI. Turns out the Bulgur made from red winter wheat is not quite the same as the Bulgur (or Burgul as they pronounce it) made from the middle eastern yellow wheat. They didn't like the flavor, but I still managed to use it up as filler in meat loaf and in other dishes.

  4. Peas grow like weeds so should be a viable long term crop. My pups love peas as I'm picking them from the garden they're drooling hoping I'll share :) hmm I wonder about wild rice being a suitable candidate?
    not certain about your growing zone but you have shallow lakes and ponds nearby you.

    1. oops just read the colony post ^.^ so wild rice could be viable especially in your swampy area, you would (amongst the eleventy million other chores )have to cultivate it :) hmm I think your oat field would be a good bet too.

    2. I'm a bit late replying here, so I don't even know if you'll see this... ah well.

      Yes, peas are one of the advantages we northerners have over southern gardeners, eh? Good to know your pups enjoy them fresh. So far mine seem to be adjusting to them just fine.

      Ducks Unlimited did some wild rice seeding a few years back at Swan Lake (amongst others), so I may have to try collecting some for seed.

  5. This is a facinating thing to think about!

    Have you ever considered growing aramanth or quinoa? I've never had aramanth, but we use quinoa and brown rice interchangably. Quinoa cooks faster.

    Like rice it's gluten-free which is a plus for a lot of folks, and it's the only grain that is also a complete protein. Maybe that's something important to consider for your dogs.

    If you have never cooked with it and get some to try remember to rinse it before cooking. It has a natural soap-like coating that tastes bitter. Some people sprout it, but I haven't done that with much success myself (meaning I didn't like the taste or texture). :-)

    All in all it's a pretty neat food to have in your pantry. I just don't know if it can be grown in Northern Ontario.

    1. I bought amaranth seed this year, next year will be the first in the garden. It has a bit of a longer season than we usually get, but it might squeak by. I've never tried quinoa, but I suppose I could, or should. I'll look into it. Thanks for the tips!