Originally Posted by Kayelle
Report: Soup is done and the peas have liquified as I had hoped and expected. The just bought pea package said the best use by date is 2015 and that's a shorter shelf life than I had expected. Interesting.
In one of my books (I think it was Lizzie David) it suggests that pulses don't have an eternal shelf life. She recommends that they should be used by the year after they are harvested to get the best out of them. IME this is a bit too stringent and your "best before 2015" sounds quite a good deal. Personally I go by the best before/use before date. Obviously, they won't instantly become unusable after that date but they will get harder and harder until they are too far gone to bother with
I know that DC-ers don't all agree with me but I find that most beans and whole peas (but not lentils) are improved by soaking and, whilst some "authorities" say that the use of bicarbonate of soda/baking soda leaches some of the goodness from the pulses, many cooks swear by a little in the soaking water to help the softening. In fact, packets of Batchelors dried peas include a "free" a tablet of bicarb and recommend it's use when soaking. I generally don't bother with it but it's a matter of choice.
And now I have a dreadful confession. I keep a few tins of "mushy peas" in my store cupboard for when I want to make pea soup and have forgotten to put the dried peas to soak. (Slinks off in shame