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.





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