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Siberian Pea Tree aka Caragana Arborescens - Edible, but are they "good eats"?

 
Dan Boone
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Peas that grow on trees! The pictures around the web are attractive, but the sources are conflicted on just how tasty and practically useful these "pea trees" are as a food source. Everybody seems to agree that when cooked, they are edible; but nobody has much to say about how tasty they are, and the edibility of raw/young pods is in dispute, with some sources recommending cooking. Worlds like "bland" also get used.

One post I found here on Permies had this to say:

Deborha d'Arms wrote:
The Siberian Pea Tree/shrub, very hardy to 40 degrees below, is a stunning tree yielding pea pods at 36 grams protein, which can be used the same way one would use lentils. They can be bland but respond well to flavoring.


What I want for this thread are:

1) Your personal anecdotes about how you have tasted, used, or cooked with the products of this tree;

2) Any links you know of to practical discussions of how to cook and use the products of this tree, especially the fresh pods and/or young seeds;

3) Any links to detailed ethnographical discussions of the traditional usages of this tree's products.

Whatcha got?
 
Will Holland
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Location: CT zone 5b
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I've wanted to know the same thing for some time. Hopefully someone can shed some light on the subject.
 
John Polk
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I have never heard of anybody eating them other than in Siberia, where nothing edible is overlooked.
With 36% protein, they do make an excellent livestock fodder.

Here is what J.L. Hudson's catalog has to say about them:

Siberian Pea.PNG
[Thumbnail for Siberian Pea.PNG]
 
Russell Olson
Posts: 181
Location: Zone 4 MN USA
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A road we walk on fairly often has a whole bunch of Siberian pea shrubs on a south facing hill right along the side, maybe a mile long.
Last spring I picked a green pod, opened it and popped the 6 or so immature green seeds in my mouth, tasted to me just like peas, but much smaller and maybe with a slight Lima bean texture.
I had maybe a dozen pods on the walk, more for my own interest than for hunger purposes.
I could see steaming a big bowl with butter and having it taste a lot like spring peas. The pods are not good like a pea pod though.
I plan on transplanting a bunch of small pea shrubs from this area and into my garden for chop and drop nitro fixers. Maybe snacks too.
 
Miles Flansburg
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It has been many years ago but I tried to eat them like peas. They tasted like peas to me. I don't remember if I tried the pod.
Once they dry out in the fall mine would curl up into a spiral and explode, sending seeds everywhere. At this stage the pod is very dry and sharp to the touch. I did not try to eat the seeds at this stage.

So the innovation would be a way to get the green peas out of the pod without so much work. Or to find out if the pods are edible at an early stage.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I have tons of these but I've never tried to eat the peas before. I suppose I could give it a try this year. I have a fair bit of the pea seeds for planting but that's it.
 
Akiva Silver
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They're not too bad, but they're not too great either. It's also very hard to collect a lot. I think these are best collected by chickens but maybe someone will breed them for bigger peas one day.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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