Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

Peasemeal, pea flour

Peasemeal is flour made from ground yellow field peas. The peas are first roasted. The roasting caramelises some of the sugar and darkens the colour and increases the nutritive value by giving greater access to protein and starch. They are then ground through three sets of stones in a water-powered millstone. This produces a fine brown yellow powder with a varying texture. This depends on the humidity of the mill and runs from fine to slightly gritty. It is traditionally used for brose (a soup or thick savory porridge). Since its renewed popularity, it is used as a crispy coating for fish or chicken and adds a lovely taste to white sauce. It can also make a healthy vegetarian pate. Peasemeal is a fine yellow flour that has a strong taste, quite earthy, just like a roasted pea. The traditional region of production is north East Scotland although the food was used since Roman times. Flour ground from peas and products made with it have a long history in Scotland. References to peas scones can be found in multiple 18th century texts and references to bannocks made from peasemeal can be found in McNeil (1929). Eating peasemeal was associated with poverty because it provided the hard protein for those that couldn’t afford meat. It was also at times perceived as a treat for those on a heavy oatmeal or barley diet. During the Second World War, peasemeal became a utility food, widely eaten in the UK. The production of peasemeal then disappeared entirely in the 1970s until it was revived by Fergus Morrison in the 1990s due to popular demand in his region, the Highlands. He then passed on his knowledge and business to New Zealander Mike Shaw who is today the last known peasemeal producer. Nowadays, there is a single small-scale miller at Golspie which produces approximately 4 tons a year.

Back to the archive >

Other info