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Split Pea Conundrum

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I just made split pea and ham soup , my first time to cook split peas . They would not cook up soft...even after an overnight soak with three changes of water , and four and a half hours of cooking , they were still hard ??? I saved the soup by blending the peas into mush , but what gives with split peas ?? Why don't they cook up tender like other peas and beans ?

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  1. I've never soaked split peas before cooking. Just pour into a colander and wash throughly and try to pick what doesn't look like a perfect pea. After you add the aromatics the most you need to cook the soup is an hour+/-.

    1. Your split peas are probably old. Old dried peas take significantly longer to cook, and sometimes a they will stay hard and dry even after cooking. I, like Gio, find no need to soak split peas before cooking,
      This web site is full of information about peas. http://www.farmbuilt.com

      2 Replies
      1. re: speyerer

        Oh I love that web site, speyerer! Many thanks for the link. Tons of very useful information, plus recipes! Lord knows I need more recipes. LOL
        Have you ever ordered from them?

        1. re: Gio

          argghh. the domain www.farmbuilt.com is for sale...hate dead links. oh well.

      2. I had the same problem and solved it by the same method, and truth be told, I cooked those suckers for 7 hrs (and then ruined the pot by tossing in one too many bay leaves but that's a different story). I think we should both start using Gio's method.

        Gio: are you using any particular brand/type of peas?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ali

          I have Goya brand in the pantry now. I can't remember if I've used any other, but I probably have. There are many recipes for split pea soup to be found both on-line and in cookbooks. After reading many of them I realised that the recipe on the back of the package is just right. No need to make a silmple thing more difficult than it needs to be.

        2. That is a great website. Thanks, Speyerer.

          The other thing I learned is not to salt any beans or peas until after they are cooked. I was told that salting at the outset of the cooking process will make them stay hard.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LNG212

            Nope -- that's a myth. I cook a lot of peas and beans, and I always season the broth at the outset, including salt. Like speyerer said, the main culprit is old seeds. I don't focus on buying any particular brand or type, but I try to buy somewhere where I can get a good turnover -- typically at an Indian or latino grocer.

            1. re: heatherkay

              A myth, really? I didn't know one way or the other -- but I just learned that in a cooking class I went to last month. Go figure!

              1. re: LNG212

                I've heard that it may depend on the hardness or softness of the water. But I've cooked a pot of beans, peas, pulses, etc., a couple of times a month for 20 years and I always salt them early in the cooking process. I've only had them stay hard a couple of times, which suggests to me that it's the age of the legume rather than the salt in the water. I have heard that it can have an effect on the consistency of the bean after its cooked (graininess?), but I've never had a noticeable problem. The few times the beans were undersalted? THAT was a problem.

          2. I make my split pea soup in a crock pot. Pop the ingredients in in the morning, mushy peas in the evening when I come home. Every time.

            3 Replies
            1. re: hondo77

              You must use fresh peas. Old dried peas will stay hard and dry even after cooking all day. I'm happy it works for you.

              1. re: speyerer

                Nope, I'm using dried peas. They don't stand a chance against my mighty crock pot :-).

                1. re: hondo77

                  I was referring to fresh dried peas. Old dried peas will stay hard and dry even after cooking all day even in your crock pot.