Grains & Legumes
Season for Green Peas April - November
Green Peas Described
If your experience of green peas stops at mom popping open a can and mixing 'em with carrots, you are missing out! How about a renewed appreciation for this vibrant and delicious legume that bursts in both color and taste, with the potential to add a sweet and starchy element to all kinds of savory dishes. Green peas are also called garden peas and have rounded pods that are usually slightly curved in shape and indedible. But inside lies green rounded pea seeds that are just waiting to be snacked upon.
How to Buy and Store Green Peas
Rule of thumb when shopping for fresh green peas: The bigger the pea, the more starchy it will be. So, look for pods that aren't bulging; think snug instead, pearl sized. Look for bright green, shiny, firm pods that squeak when you rub two of them together. To test the quality of peas, snap one open and see whether it is crisp. Once home, your peas should be eaten quick. They will begin to lose their characteristic sweetness after about three days. Store them in a closed brown bag or a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator.
How to Cook Green Peas
Gently rinse your pods and then shell them, leaving you with a pile of fresh, bright green peas. As a general rule, one pound of pods will yield one cup of shelled peas. Your peas can be eaten raw or briefly blanched, braised or stir-fried to preserve their delicate sweetness, bright color and a slight crunch. Peas can be easily served on their own, lightly seasoned as a side dish to many a main entree or can be added into risottos, pastas, stews and the like. Pair your peas with a little lemon juice and fresh mint for a flavor combination that wows. Or homemake some fresh baby food.
Health Benefits of Green Peas
Mom made you eat your peas for a reason. Although high in natural sugar, peas offset that with a good dose of dietary fiber. Owing to peas plethora of vitamin Bs, iron and vitamin C, they can help with energy levels (who needs Red Bull?!). If you often feel fatigued and sluggish, you may want to include this legume in your diet. And like all legumes, peas are an excellent source of low-fat protein. The nutrients found in peas can also be helpful to your bone and heart health, as well as in staving off certain types of cancer.
Why Buy Natural and Organic Green Peas
It's estimated that 95% of the world's pea crop is either frozen or canned, so fresh peas have become a rare treat. But they need not be! Avoid canned peas for the controversial chemical used in canning - BPA (Bisphenol A) - and their overall mushy, leaves-something-to-be-desired nature. Instead, wow your palate with organic peas grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers using sustainable methods that foster a healthy environment - and healthy you. Besides the fact that they taste infinitely better...