More exciting brown parcels in the post! One parcel included a packet of asparagus pea seeds – something I’ve never grown before and  which was chosen to help satisfy my ravenous new-vegetable urges. The merits seem many: Very attractive (edible) flowers, don’t need much fussing, and producing lots of interesting shaped pods which (at least when eaten young) can be used like peas but with a special hint of asparagus about them. I’m also informed that the roots can be used like sweet potato, and dried ground pods were once used as a coffee substitute. Great!

No phots of Asparagus Peas yet, for obvious reasons. So here's my eggplant, with a good dozen eggs in the brood.

No phots of Asparagus Peas yet, for obvious reasons. So here's my eggplant, with a good dozen eggs in the brood.

Well, depends who you ask. Journeying through cyberspace tonight, I have been enormously entertained by the inventive and poetic descriptions of its flavour offered by its many, many haters. I select a few that pleased me for your delight, oh fellow wanderers of the ether:

  • “pencil sharpenings”
  • “palate-lacerating tasteless razor blades”
  • “vile mutant vetchy thing”
  • “spiky cardboard”
  • “Waste of garden space” – practical concerns here
  • “NOT for eating- unless you have someone you really, really do not like over for dinner”
  • “pre-digested blotting paper.”
  • “Even the hens weren’t keen” – damning indeed
  • “tasted of unpaid bills” – very evocative

Wonderful descriptions – nearly all from the Cottage Smallholder and visitors. Cottage Smallholder seems to have given a host of closet asparagus pea haters the release they’ve needed.

Call me perverse, but I think I’m even keener now.

Most commentators acknowledge they at least look nice. But the flavour? Even a seed company is hedging its bets… “a unique gourmet flavour “

And Nigel Slater, a man I have a lot of faith in,  a man who knows tasty food, (and knows that you’d prefer not to fart about with it if you don’t need to), and whose enthusiasm is a big part of his charm, dismisses them too: “they aren’t really something for the kitchen”.

I’m obviously going to ignore all this wisdom and plant them anyway, and I might ignore all the other wisdom about when to plant and try and squeeze a few in now.

I’m going to like doing so too, even if I don’t like them. But I’d love to know if there are any fans out there – or even someone that thinks they’re okay … I’m holding out some hope that maybe some of those above just didn’t pick them young enough (the name asparagus pea might also be inspired by the fact that, like asparagus, they are best eaten young and as soon as they are cooked). Wishful thinking, I know, but the fun of trying something new outweighs it all, even when certain disappointment lies ahead.