Peas come in three varieties: snow, snap and garden. During the 19th century peas played an important role in the early development of the study of genetics. Sugar snap peas were developed in 1970 as a result of a cross between garden peas and snow peas. Mangetout are garden peas which are undeveloped (eaten in their pods) whilst petit pois are young garden peas which are picked and shelled.
Peas are best eaten as soon as they have been picked. Frozen peas are usually frozen within three hours of picking, and for this reason their flavour is often better than that of fresh peas which have been picked a couple of days before packaging or selling.
Why are they good for me?
- Protein – peas are surprisingly high in protein. 1 cup of peas provides 7.9g protein which is the same as a 250ml glass of milk.
- Vitamin C – 100g peas provides nearly half your recommended vitamin C intake. This is important in wound healing and maintaining a healthy immune system.
- Dietary fibre – dried peas in particular are high in dietary fibre which is important for avoiding constipation and maintaining a healthy bowel. 100g peas provides around 20% of your recommended daily fibre intake.
What can I do with them?
- Spring pea dip – using a food processor, blend 2 cups peas, 2 inches ginger (grated), ½ cup almonds, 2 cups fresh coriander, juice of ½ lime. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with crudités such as cucumber, carrot, bell pepper or crackers.
- Breakfast idea – mashed peas on toast – place 200g frozen peas in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 2-3 mins then drain and roughly mash. Stir in 1 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, ½ lemon zest and a few shredded mint leaves. Serve on sourdough toast and top with 1-2 poached eggs.
- Pea ice cream – using a food processor, blend 4 frozen sliced bananas, 1 handful fresh mint, 250g frozen peas, juice of ½ lime, 2 tbsp. agave syrup and 5 drops liquorice essence.
- Pea, basil and mint soup
- Sauté sugar snap peas with shiitake mushrooms and garlic.
- Raw peas in pods make a quick and convenient snack.
- Toss into a green salad.