Pigeon peas

11 October 2007

Pigeon peas are a crop grown primarily in warm climates. We've just harvested our first pigeon peas, and although I haven't shelled them yet, I think we have about 1 kilogram (2.2lbs) of dried peas. They can be eaten green or dried. In India, they're one of the peas used as dahl. We've had them here as a substitute to split yellow peas for pea soup.

Pigeon peas are one of the traditional permaculture plants. They're a multi-function plant being used as human food, forage for chickens and animals, they make a good green manure and can be cut back and used as mulch. Native birds also love them.

Although they're an unusual plant, they're quite handy as they can be grown during the warm weather and when harvested, can be stored in jars in the stockpile for eating throughout the year.

Further reading.


  1. I love the taste of pigeon peas. They have such a marvelous fresh taste to them, much different than starchier dried beans. I like them plain, or in salads.

  2. Willow do you eat them fresh and young in your salads/plain?

  3. We have some sort of yellow dried peas in our supermarkets(U.S.A.),I've never tried them and I've never heard of Pigeon Peas.I'll take time to check them out next trip to the store. Thanks for sharing the photo.

  4. I've never tried pigeon peas! We grow a dried bean mix which we use all year. I posted about it on my blog. Do you grow jacob's catttle, kidney beans, navy beans, etc? If not, let me know and I will mail you some to plant. They are delicious and easy to dry and store.

  5. I recently got some pidgeon pea seeds from an internet friend in simplicity, and am hoping to grow some soon. Do you know when is the right time to start them and are the annual or perennial?

  6. lib, the yellow split peas are delicious. They take a while to cook as they have to dissolve, but when they're cooked, they're divine.

    Niki, we have those beans here, thanks for the offer though. I love growing legumes for storing in the cupboard.

    Hello han_ysic, welcome. I went to your blog but I couldn't see what area you live in. Pigeon peas live all year round here (SE Qld) but are killed by frosts. If you're in a mild area, they'll grow for a few years if you cut them back after harvesting.

  7. I wonder if we have such a thing in the USA? It is certainly warm enough to grow them in southern New Mexico. They look a little bigger than yellow peas, but I don't think I have ever seen them around here. Does anyone know? Sharon

  8. Sharon, if you read the Wiki reference in "further reading", you'll find: "Pigeon peas are nutritionally important, as they contain high levels of protein and the important amino acids methionine, lysine, and tryptophan. In combination with cereals, pigeon peas make a well balanced human food.

    In some places, such as the Dominican Republic and Hawaii, pigeon peas are grown for canning. In the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico rice and green pigeon peas is considered the main traditional food and is served as a representation of Puerto Rican cuisine in many food festival around the world. As an example it won great reviews in The Taste of Chicago 2007 an annual food festival.
    The woody stems of pigeon peas are used as firewood, fencing and thatch."
    If they're in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, they must be grown in the US.

  9. I've never tried these. I think I will have a look for them next time I go to the store


  10. I love "gandules," as they are called in Puerto Rico! Made in yellow rice they are a staple of any gathering in my family, very often by my mom. My dad grows them almost every year in their garden down in FL and freezes them until he's ready to use them.

    I have fed them very successfully to my very Irish hubby and he liked them too! Thanks for posting about them :)

  11. "Will wonders never cease?!?!" as my mother would say. I went online to look for pigeon peas and found this website:
    practically in my own back yard!
    Moyie Springs is about 60 miles north of here (Coeur d'Alene)
    I'm going to have to get in touch with them...
    Thanks for the information about them, Rhonda.
    I would really like to start growing more legumes.
    Carla in Idaho

  12. I've never seen any fresh around here (in the Midwest) but I can find them dried in the larger import grocery stores. They still have a "fresh" taste to them!


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