May I Peas Have More May Peas?

Peas were hardly my friends growing up. Insert any vegetable that was hard for you to stomach as a child—brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, etc.—and I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Which is why I completely avoided any mushy pea or bean for years. Only in the last few years have I come to embrace black beans, garbanzo beans and butter beans. Little did I know I was about to meet the May pea. Last weekend I visited St. Paul’s Downtown Farm Market in Norfolk where PC Duo was jamming out while the hubby and I sampled a dozen different jams—oh, what a lovely happenstance. After I picked up the cutest French macarons and lavender ombré cake from Gateaux Bakery & Café, I started to shop for the week’s produce. I gave a half-second glance to the May peas, and I quickly went back to getting my usual veggies. This half-second was enough for a sweet woman to begin telling me about May peas and the best—and only—cooking method she swears by. I hesitated, but I went ahead and purchased these early summer jewels ready to put her advice into practice.

may peas from st. paul's downtown farm market

These lil’ peas will win you over. As much as I wanted to add bacon or mushrooms to spruce up the peas I'm glad I kept it simple. Just some butter in the pan, a little garlic and thyme from my garden did the trick. What you'll find is beautiful, almost candied seeming, buttered green gems that still remain true to their fresh and mildly sweet profile. While I found my May peas at the Norfolk market, they’re also available at Sugar Babies Farm Stand and Stoney's Produce in Virginia Beach.


Buttery May Peas with Garlic and Thyme

Total Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 3 servings

may peas ingredients


2 tbsp butter

3 large garlic cloves, sliced

3 cups shelled May peas

¾–1 cup water (enough to just cover peas depending on skillet size)

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp olive oil

may peas chopping garlic


In a large skillet, heat butter on medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until brown for about 2 minutes.

cooking garlic

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan. Water should just cover the peas. Bring water to a boil, then stir often for about 10–15 minutes. The water might boil off before the peas are done cooking, in which case you should add a little more water until they’re nice and tender.

may peas

may peas in the pot may peas in the pot

may peas with garlic and thyme

Here's a recipe for Butter Bean Risotto.

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