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Mar 31, 2008 01:09 PM

Split Pea Conundrum

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.

      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 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.