Latvian Gray Peas

My previous blog post was the recipe for gray peas. I shared it without thinking about “gray peas” as itself. Big Gray Peas are easy to get here in Latvia cause it turns out is something completely special. So special that have been enlisted in the European Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) list.


Photo credit: LETA


Gray peas are dried seeds of the local ‘Retrija’ cultivar of field pea (Pisum sativum L.). Peas are large, very coarse, brown with a marbled pattern that gives it a greyish color. These peas are eaten with seed coat because it cannot be separated from the rest of the seed.


Latvians have been pea eaters for centuries. There is a long tradition of cultivating grey peas in Latvia. This type of pea has been grown in Latvia since as early as the 18th century. Articles were published at the beginning of the 20th century on the specifics of cultivating ‘grey’ peas.


Nowadays ‘pelēkie zirņi’ with bacon is referred to in tourist guidebooks as a specifically Latvian dish that is worth sampling.





8 thoughts on “Latvian Gray Peas

  1. Thank you Ilze for coming back with this information. Fascinating that they are so special that they have protected status. I love all the pulses – peas, beans, lentils etc so I’m sure to love these. We often have beans on our vegie days, we’ll probably have them this evening, but we also have them a lot with smoked bacon or bacon bones, recipe from Romania. However, here in the UK we have to use ‘butter beans’ – big white beans. In Romania they use something they call ‘boarbe’, similar but twice as big or more, and my buttery.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m considering sending you Latvian gray peas… but I know that Latvian Post wont send food like tea, coffee, honey… I’m not sure about peas!!!! What do you think? Do you want to try!?


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