Discover the Health Benefits of Green Peas
Green peas are a great vegetable to add to your meal. But do you know everything there is to know about them?
The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower. The name is also used to describe other edible seeds from the Fabaceae such as the pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan), the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), and the seeds from several species of Lathyrus. P. sativum is an annual plant, with a life cycle of one year. It is a cool season crop grown in many parts of the world; planting can take place from winter to early summer depending on location. The average pea weighs between 0.1 and 0.36 grams. The immature peas (and in snow peas the tender pod as well) are used as a vegetable, fresh, frozen or canned; varieties of the species typically called field peas are grown to produce dry peas like the split pea shelled from the matured pod. These are the basis of pease porridge and pea soup, staples of medieval cuisine; in Europe, consuming fresh immature green peas was an innovation of Early Modern cuisine. The wild pea is restricted to the Mediterranean basin and the Near East. The earliest archaeological finds of peas date from the late neolithic era of current Greece, Syria, Turkey and Jordan. In Egypt, early finds date from ca. 4800–4400 BC in the Nile delta area, and from ca. 3800–3600 BC in Upper Egypt. The pea was also present in Georgia in the 5th millennium BC. Farther east, the finds are younger. Peas were present in Afghanistan ca. 2000 BC, in Harappa, Pakistan, and in northwest India in 2250–1750 BC. In the second half of the 2nd millennium BC, this pulse crop appears in the Gangetic basin and southern India.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about green peas, including their history, health benefits, and how to cook them.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Discovering the Wonders of Green Peas
- 2 Preparing Green Peas: A Guide to Making the Perfect Dish
- 3 Green Peas: A Nutritional Powerhouse
- 4 Conclusion
Discovering the Wonders of Green Peas
Green peas, also known as garden peas, are a type of legume that belongs to the family Fabaceae. They are produced by plants that are widely grown in many parts of the world, and they come in a variety of forms and varieties. Green peas are commonly sold fresh or frozen and are considered a staple food in many households.
The Different Varieties of Green Peas
There are hundreds of varieties of green peas, but the majority of them can be classified into two main types: the fresh or young peas and the starchy peas. The fresh or young peas are sweet and delicate and are commonly eaten raw or steamed. The starchy peas, on the other hand, are larger and have a higher starch content, making them perfect for making dishes like pea soup or adding to rice dishes.
The Nutritional Content of Green Peas
Green peas are incredibly good for you and contain a complex array of nutrients that can benefit your health in many ways. They are high in fiber, which can help prevent certain diseases and cause you to feel fuller for longer. They also contain a good amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate.
Remember These Tips When Buying and Keeping Green Peas
When buying green peas, check for quality by looking for peas that are bright green and plump. Avoid peas that are discolored or wilted. When keeping green peas, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator and use them within a few days.
Green peas are a popular food around the world, and it’s easy to see why. They are affordable, versatile, and incredibly good for you. So next time you’re in the market for a new type of vegetable, give green peas a try!
Preparing Green Peas: A Guide to Making the Perfect Dish
- Look for bright green pods that are slightly rounded and feel tender to the touch.
- Avoid pods that are dry, discolored, or have stringy ends.
- When picking peas from the garden, snap the stem or pry the pod open to remove the peas.
Shelling and Cleaning Peas
- Rinse the pods under running water to remove any dirt or debris.
- Snap off the stem end and pull the string down the length of the pod to remove it.
- Pry open the pod and remove the peas.
- Rinse the peas in a colander under running water and drain.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are tender.
- Drain the peas and immediately place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and set the bright green color.
- Alternatively, steam the peas for 3-4 minutes until tender.
- To add flavor, stir in butter, salt, and pepper or a sweet sauce made by melting sugar and butter in a saucepan.
- Peas can be served as a side dish or added to salads, soups, and stews.
- They are also a popular ingredient in dishes like pea risotto and pea soup.
- Peas can be eaten raw, but are usually cooked.
- Peas are low in fat and high in protein and starch, making them a healthy addition to any meal.
- There are many varieties of peas, including snap peas, snow peas, and English peas.
- Snap peas are eaten whole, including the pod, and are known for their sweet taste.
- Snow peas have a flat pod and are often used in stir-fry dishes.
- English peas are the most commonly sold variety and are often used in traditional pea dishes.
- Peas can be used to create art, such as pea mosaics and pea sculptures.
- The world record for the largest pea mosaic was set in 2018, with a mosaic measuring 53 square meters made up of over 300,000 peas.
Pea Fun Facts
- Peas are one of the oldest cultivated crops, dating back to ancient times.
- Peas are a natural source of sugar and the conversion of sugar to starch begins as soon as the pea is picked.
- Peas were once considered a luxury item and were only eaten by the wealthy.
- The coldest pea on record was found in a farm in England, where it was stored at-40 degrees Celsius for 35 years.
Green Peas: A Nutritional Powerhouse
Absolutely! Green peas are a popular and affordable staple food that is enjoyed by many. They are a good source of essential nutrients and offer a range of health benefits. Here are some reasons why green peas are considered a healthy food choice:
- Rich in Nutrients: Green peas are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, and potassium. They also contain iron, zinc, and magnesium.
- High in Fiber: Green peas are a good source of dietary fiber, which can help to control blood sugar levels, improve digestion, and promote feelings of fullness.
- Contains Protein: Green peas are a good source of plant-based protein, making them an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans.
- Low in Fat: Green peas are low in fat, making them a good choice for those looking to control their calorie intake.
- Heart-Healthy: The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C in green peas can help to protect against heart disease.
- Potential Anti-Cancer Effects: Research has shown that the unique combination of phytonutrients in green peas may help to protect against certain types of cancer.
What Makes Green Peas So Nutritious?
Green peas are a type of legume that belongs to the same family as beans and lentils. They are produced by plants that belong to the Fabaceae family and are commonly sold fresh or frozen. Here are some of the key nutrients found in green peas:
- Carbohydrates: Green peas are a starchy vegetable that contains complex carbohydrates, including glucose and fructose.
- Protein: Green peas are a good source of plant-based protein, containing about 5-6 grams of protein per cup.
- Fiber: Green peas are a good source of dietary fiber, containing about 4-5 grams of fiber per cup.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Green peas are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, and potassium.
How to Include Green Peas in Your Diet
Green peas are a versatile food that can be prepared in many different ways. Here are some ideas for how to include green peas in your diet:
- Steamed: Green peas can be steamed and served as a side dish.
- Salad: Green peas can be added to salads for a fresh and sweet flavor.
- Soup: Green peas can be used to make a delicious and hearty soup.
- Stir-Fry: Green peas can be added to stir-fries for a pop of color and flavor.
- Substitute: Green peas can be used as a substitute for other starchy vegetables, such as potatoes or corn.
So there you have it- everything you need to know about green peas. They’re a delicious and healthy vegetable that you can use in a variety of dishes. Plus, they’re easy to cook. So the next time you’re looking for a new ingredient, you know what to do!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.