Every now and then I see mushy peas online, but they are like imposters. They are far too green, far too smooth, and far too glossy. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the garden pea, far from it. It’s just not a mushy pea.
The main difference between Marrowfat peas and frozen peas is size and age. The Marrowfat peas are grown to maturity and allowed to dry, so varieties grown as Marrowfat peas are starchy peas which grow to a large size. Some of the UK harvests are now exported to Japan where they are also popular, particularly for making Wasabi peas.
Frozen peas are different varieties and picked while younger. However, these are also divided into larger fatter (either through age or variety) frozen peas sold as “Garden Peas” and smaller sweeter (younger maybe?) ones sold as “Petit Pois” which is just French for little peas, as the English have always tended to use French for posher dishes.
Mushy peas taste different because of the steeping process and the bicarbonate of soda used in the steeping and/or cooking.
We wanted to find a little history on the marrowfat pea, but I guess it was such a long time ago that history has it mixed up.
The fact that an export cultivar popular in Japan is called Maro has led some people to assume, mistakenly, that the English name marrowfat is derived from Japanese. In fact, the name marrowfat pea for mature dried peas is recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary as early as 1733.
Named because it is a “plump” pea. The Maro variety was introduced to England 100 years ago by the Japanese due to our climate being ideal for growing peas. They wanted “fat maros” (good plump peas), and so they became known as marrowfat peas.
Who knows the truth, All we know is that the British mushy pea is an institution, it boldly belongs next to fish and chips.