Peas

Peas are essential in a vegetarian diet because of their high protein content.

Not only are peas enjoyable to eat, they are highly nourishing.

Have you tried to eat young peas just picked from the plant? Eat them raw. They are tender, extremely sweet and addictive. The taste of freshly picked peas does not have anything to do with that of peas bought in the shop, probably picked more than 20 hours before, and even less with the flavor of frozen peas.

Young peas cooked as soon as they are picked are also a completely different experience. Petit pois, with their tiny seeds, come close to this experience or the mange tout and sugar snap varieties, where the pods are so tender that you don't need to shell the peas, just steam and eat them with a little butter.

Pea trivia

Peas are old food, an excavation in Burma found peas from about 9,750 B.C. using the carbon dating method. The European excavations in sites from the Bronze Age have also unearthed ancient peas. The Book of Samuel in the Old Testament also mentions peas - an allusion to parched pulses.

Dried peas have made old history, but tender garden peas have been cultivated only since the 16th century.

Storage

Fresh garden peas would keep for 1-2 days at room temperature, but, as the rapidly lose vitamin C, they are better stored cold.

Fridge

Fresh peas will keep 2-3 days - place inside a paper bag or perforated plastic bag and better inside the vegetable drawer.

Freezer

Frozen peas will keep for about 9 months to 1 year. - wash, shell and wash again. Process in boiling water for 3 minutes for small peas and 5 minutes for large ones, drain and leave to cool. Distribute in portions and put each one into a freezer bag.

Garden peas are suitable for home canning. They need to be washed, shelled, blanched or processed in boiling water, drained and pressure canned or frozen. If processed very quickly, frozen peas retain almost all their nutritional value.

Store the varieties grown to be eaten dried in tight containers as you would with other beans and pulses.

Preparation and use

Shell peas and just boil for about 8-10 minutes. Drizzle with a littl olive oil or toss with butter. They don't need anything more.

Varieties grown to be eaten whole - pod and seed - such as mange tout are best suited for light cooking, just steam until tender but still crips or stir-fry.

The flavor of bacon or ham goes very well with peas. boil the peas firs then cook the bacon in a pan and add peas at the end.

Nutritional value

Peas score high in nutrition charts. They have high protein content for a vegetable and this makes them essential in a vegetarian diet, where getting enough protein can be a problem. Apart from protein, peas are an excellent source of fiber, good source of vitamin A and C and minerals, being potassium, manganese and phosphorus the most important of the lot.

Recipes

Healthy: French style peas , easy menestra, Navarran menestra , no sauce menestra, lamb menestra, peas and lettuce.

Comforting: ham, cheddar and rice pudding or ham, macaroni and ricotta cheese make peas comfort food, or try shepherd's pie, add to pasta salads.

Exotic: curried sweet potato with hake, with peas to complete the dish. omelet stack, garnish this chickpea and mushroom cream with a puree of cooked peas and parsley.


Peas - peas in all their glory can be garden peas, English peas, marrowfat, field peas, snwo peas, sugar snap, mange tout, petit pois.

pisum sativum (Leguminosae)