I am attempting to make split pea stew. It has cooked for a long time. The bag of split peas is new and it is organic. I did put lemon juice on the beef to tenderize it before the water boiled. Is this the culprit? It taste wonderful. They are a bit crunchy and edible but not as tender as I would like. Any way to make them more tender? Thank you in advance!

  • What's "a long time"? Normal split pea soup takes 60-100 minutes for the peas to soften completely.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 20:51

2 Answers 2


I suspect what's happened here is that the acid in the lemon juice has slowed the rate at which the split peas softened; you should be able to just continue simmering the stew (add more liquid if it's getting too thick) until the peas are properly softened.

For future reference, tenderising meat with an acid, like your lemon juice on your beef, is a practice that mostly makes sense for fast-cooking preaparations like steaks or chops done on the grill or in a frying pan; a slowly stewed piece of meat will get tender just by being stewed for long enough; any acid you want to add, e.g. just for flavour, you can add at the end after everything's already fully cooked and softened to your liking.


Salt and acids make it virtually impossible to cook the legumes soft. Any citrus or seasonings with salt in them have to be added only at the very end or the peas will not soften.

  • salt makes the skin of legumes stay intact and stretch rather than bursting and doesn't necessarily keep them from getting soft otherwise, but acid definitely does keep legumes from softening.
    – Esther
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 17:34

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