Reaching their peak season during Spring, peas can offer. An impressive nutrition profile that is so ofteh overlooked.
Did you know that a half cup serving of shelled peas can supply an excellent source of Vitamin C, a good source. Of Vitamin A, plus four grams of fiber and plant based protein.
All varieties of peas, including English green peas, snow and sugar peas are versatile and can serve as a main ingredient in stir- frys, salads, pasta, spreads and soups.
The most common type of green peas include the English or garden peas, which are vibrant green and plump with pods that contain upbtobten precious round green seeds.
This variety is best eaten fresh. You should choose fresh garden peas thatcare small to medium in size because they will be the sweetest. When preparing them, just remove and discard the pods before eating them. When using them in pasta, soup or grain dishes, add peas during the last few minutes of cooking to maintain the beautiful green color.
For more traditional dishes, you can pair green peas with potatoes, carrots, onions and herbs like mint, basil and parsley.
In addition to being fresh, green peas are also available are year round in the canned or frozen forms. Try using them in making a mock gacumole with thr usual avocado, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lime juice for the right touch of acidity.
The snow pea (Pisum sativum var. saccharatum) is a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe. The name mangetout (French for “eat all”) can apply both to snow peas and to snap peas.
Snow peas are botanically known as Pisum satvium and are considered to be a hardy annual. The entire pod is edible while unripe and typically grows up to 6″ in length. Produce on a climbing vine, Snow peas offer a sweet, tender flavor that has mild green notes.
Also known as Chinese peas, snow peas are flat with small seeds having a pleasant herbaceous flavor.
Did you know that the name mangetout (French for “eat all”) can apply both to snow peas and to snap peas and this vegetable has been cultivated since the 19th century in Europe?
Another fun fact is that Austrian scientist and monk Gregor Mendel used peas which he called “Pisum saccharatum” in his famous experiments demonstrating the heritable nature of specific traits, though this Latin name might not refer to the same varieties identified with modern snow peas. Imagine that, the entire study of genetics is based on the humble pea!
When selecting snow peas, look for smooth pods with bright green skins and are at least 3 inches in length. The whole pod is edible abr contains the most fiber of all the varieties of peas currently being cultivated.
The best method for cooking snow peas is by steaming. In preparing snow peas before stir-frying, sauteeing or simmering, trim the stem end and remove the string along the side of the pod. You can refrigerate the peas in a kraft paper bag or a perforated plastic bag and use within three days.
Sugar Snap Peas
Bright, crisp and naturally sweet, sugar snap peas are a cross between garden peas and snow peas.
Sugar Snap peas are bright green with thick walls that encase a row of petite green peas. The pea pod itself is crisp, juicy and fresh tasting and the peas, tender with a sweet pea flavor. The entirety of the pod, both the shell and peas are edible. In addition the vine, leaves and flowers or pea tendrils the Sugar Snap pea grows on is edible as well.
Sugar Snap peas provide a good source of vitamins A, C, potassium, iron, riboflavin and thiamine.
When selecting sugar snap peas, look for firm pods that do not bend and snap easily. In terms of storing this variety, refrigerate in a tightly sealed plastic bag for up to five days.
Sugar Snap peas are a versatile pea and can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. Serve whole on crudites trays or as an appetizer. Their crunchy texture makes them fun for snacking or just dipping in hummus or paired with cream based dips and cheese. Snap in half and add to an array of salads. Stringless Sugar Snap peas can be utilized whole and added to stir-fries, soups and sautés or even braised alongside beef or duck.
Weis Super Markets Healthy Bites Magazine, March/April 2018. “Ripe Now: Peas”. Retrieved 20 March 2018. http://healthybites.weismarkets.com/18Mar/Page-4
Specialty Produce (2018). “Stringless Sugar Snap Peas”. Retrieved 26 March 2018. http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Stringless_Sugar_Snap_Peas_410