What are my special features?

Carlin peas, also known as black peas, are sold dried or in packs from grocers or offered cooked in portions of about 75-100g. The peas come in two colours, a brown hue and a reddish hue. With enough sunlight and water, the traditional varieties grow to a height of approximately 6 feet (1.83 metres). Carlin peas are an abundant crop that can be eaten in various ways. They are most commonly cooked from dry after overnight soaking, but some people prefer to eat them fresh. For the traditional Bonfire Night (5th November) dish of parched peas, the peas are boiled and heavily seasoned with vinegar, which gives them an earthy taste, or fried in butter.

They are a good replacement for chickpeas or puy lentils in dishes, and can be used in salads, curries and other hearty meals such as stews.

What is my history?

Carlin peas are known as “Carlin” because they were traditionally eaten on Carlin Sunday in Lent in the Christian calendar; on this day children are usually served hot Carlin peas in a little cup at the end of a church service. In Lancashire Carlin peas, also known as black, parched or maple peas, are often served on or around Bonfire Night. Depending on the circumstances it can be a festive dish, a Lent dish, an everyday dish or a pub snack. It was formerly a relatively common regional food, especially in Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Midlands, where Carlin peas are still sometimes eaten.

Why am I forgotten?

The UK produces very limited varieties of pulse on a commercial scale, and most are exported. Inspiring interest in some of our older heritage varieties such as the Carlin pea is a fantastic way to increase our edible biodiversity, and also to eat British-produced foods instead of imported varieties.

Don’t lose me…cook me!