Gleaning Pea Fields For Winter

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We have often heard the saying “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.  Recently my boys and I experienced the good version of this statement. We asked permission for a local farmer to glean the pea field.

What is Gleaning?

Have you ever heard of gleaning?  Its the process of going into a field to gather up sections of crops the machines couldn’t get to in the field.

Last week after driving by a sweet pea field I noticed lots of green sections untouched.  These green sections still had visible peas on the plants.  We could see them from the road!

The sections were left surrounded by 2-3 foot deep ruts and lots of mud. It was pretty obvious that the machines used to harvest could not access the crop in those really wet spots of the field without becoming stuck. We have had a lot of rain lately.

After a quick stop by the owners home and an additional phone call and I was given permission to glean as much as I wanted with whom ever! 

How generous is that!?!?!

boy gleaning peas in a field
Tractor Man gleaning his peas.

The missed sections were several feet wide, so I called a friend.  Its more fun to pick with someone, the time and work is much more fun. 

The first day we picked for about two hours and here is what I came home with. My friend filled a bushel basket as well. 

tote full of peas gleaned from a field
Gleaned peas

What do you do with all those peas?

After a bountiful first day, like any good homesteading wife would do, we decided a second day of picking was a good idea. We emptied out our tote and prepared to fill it a second time.

We invited a few more friends as well. After all there was still a lot of peas in the field that would just be plowed under if we didn’t pick them.

A total of five household’s picked and we only got one small corner of the field picked. It’s sad to say that there was still a lot of field there that could have been enjoyed by other families had they known about it.

On our second day I managed to fill two totes of sweet peas. I knew this would give me plenty for our family and lots to give away to family and friends if they wanted some.

peas getting ready to dehydrate

For the bulk of our peas, I opted to dehydrate. This freed up a lot of freezer space that would otherwise have been taken up.

Can you believe this is what you get from roughly four bowls of peas this size?!?!  Talk about a space saver! 

dehydrated peas
Dehydrated peas

Ways to use the peas you gleaned

The dehydrated peas will be used in all of my soups and pot pies

I also had enough to blanch and freeze some for my family.  There was enough left over to give some to my sister-in-law, father-in-law, mother and my two sisters. 

Everyone was very happy. 

Was it worth it to glean?

For my first experience gleaning I have to admit I loved it. I’m thankful for those farmers that are willing to let others come on their property to glean.

shelled peas from a gleaned field
All the shelled peas

My freezer and pantry pea requirements are complete for this season.  Many thanks to my neighboring farmer for the opportunity to glean. It was generous to share the harvest bounty with so many other families.

Happy homesteading.

muddy boots from the field gleaning

Have you tried gleaning? How did your experience go?

2 Replies to “Gleaning Pea Fields For Winter”

  1. You’re so lucky! That’s awesome that you came across the field and the farmer allowed you to do that. I’ve been wanting to help out an organization in my area that gleans food for needy families and soup kitchens.

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