Finally — A Machine That Shells Peas

Celery and green peppers can often be found for half-price in the “distressed produce” bin at the grocery store. Salvage the good parts, then chop and freeze them for use in soups, stews and casseroles. Toss the trimmings into the compost pail. Waste not, want not.

Celery leaves puréed in the blender with some water make a good base for cream of celery soup, or as a flavourful addition to any vegetable soup you make.

Herbs like dill, parsley and summer savory can be packaged in small amounts and frozen. Make sure you put them in separate plastic containers with secure lids so as not to “spice up” your entire freezer.

By grating your own cheese and freezing it, you save considerable money and it is convenient to have ready as a topping for pizza and casseroles.

The pea sheller is very important to me, and every year it does a super job shelling all the peas we pick, in a jiffy.

Many years ago, my mother picked nine pails of peas and I was given the job of shelling them. At that time you did what you were told and stayed quiet. By the time I was finished I was “not a happy camper” and my fingers were raw and sore. I never wanted to see or eat another pea again.

Of course that didn’t happen. Gardens were grown every year, always with peas and there was always the job of shelling them!

Many years later on my own farm, I went to an auction to try to buy a grain dryer. As the articles were being auctioned off, a “pea sheller” came up for sale. The bid started out at $26 and yes, I was upping the bids by $1 every time. Some time later, there was a distraught lady and an angry crowd as it took so long to sell this contraption — but there was a proud and happy owner of a pea sheller — price — $126. (I also purchased the grain dryer that I had come to buy).

The next day my wife picked a few peas as I tried to set the machine up, hoping it would work. Of course, there were no instructions that came with it. At first I put too many peas in it so the belt wouldn’t turn, but after taking some out and with a little help turning the belt it finally turned by itself. There were peas flying everywhere and pieces of peas all over.

After I had done a pail I took them to the house, but with some reservation. My wife gave me a dirty look and said, “I will shell them myself. I will not clean that mess that you brought which will take me longer.”

A neighbour came by with a pail of peas, as I had bragged to everyone about my purchase. I tried it again but after I finished with her peas, she never came back again with peas to shell. She went home with her mush and probably fed it to the pigs!

I never gave up on this contraption, and a couple of years later after a few modifications and lots of “trial and error” I did get it to shell the peas properly.

The pea sheller is very important to me, and every year it does a super job shelling all the peas we pick, in a jiffy. We have owned it for about 20 years now and I will never ever shell those suckers by hand again.

To the lady who wanted to buy it so badly — I wanted it just a little more, but come over with all your peas and I will gladly shell them for you.

John Kapicki writes from Andrew, Alberta

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