About Peas and Their Pods

Mon, Apr 5, 2010


Bright green and sweet, peas are another food that is inspired by the Spring season. Technically a fruit, this lovely little seed acts like a vegetable when we choose to incorporate it into our dishes.  Lets find out more about this fabulous seed!

The wild pea originates from the Mediterranean and the near east. Peas have been shown to come from Syria, Turkey and Jordan during the Neolithic period and then in Egypt around 4600BC near the Nile. It then spread to Georgia, Afghanistan, Harappa, Pakistan and India.  However. The oldest pea ever found was nearly 3,000 years old on the boarder of Burma and Thailand!

The early versions of peas were generally used for the dry seeds, but in the Middle Ages were boiled or steamed and became important to the European diet. The Italians can be thanked for making our “new peas” that we use most often. By 16th and 17th centuries France and England enjoyed green peas to the extent that it was called “both a fashion and a madness”.  This is also how the cultivation of the garden or English pea was developed.

Peas are low in calories, have a good amount of fiber so are great to add to foods if looking to loose weight, as the fiber will make you feel fuller. They also are high in vitamin C and iron, as well as antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin B6, and luten which can all help with cardiovascular health, a strong immune system, and help keep cancer away. There have also been studies showing that peas can be of help to those with high cholesterol!

As for food, peas have been thought to be one of the most versatile veggies in the world. You can use them in soups, salads, casseroles,  pastas, curries, stews, and stir fries. They are tasty dried or fresh, in the pod or out, and  the leaves are even considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.

Pea soup, one of the most often dried pea dishes, has been eaten in many variations through out the world. Another type of pea dish  is roasting dried peas and salted, which is a popular way to eat them in Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, and China. In the UK, peas are found in many things such as mushy peas, meat pies, and as a side dish to fish and chips. In 2005 the pea was said to be Britain’s 7th favorite culinary vegetable.

The pea is more than just a splash of vivid color added to our plain looking dishes, but usually an understated ingredient that should be featured so much more often! Here’s a couple of quotes to remember the next time you enjoy peas:

“We lived very simply – but with all the essentials of life well understood and provided for – hot baths, cold champagne, new peas and old brandy.” – Winston Churchill ‘The Last Lion’ by William Manchester (1993)

“How luscious lies the pea within the pod.” – Emily Dickinson

Photo by betty rocker.

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This post was written by:

Rochelle - who has written 324 posts on Made in Kitchen Blog.

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3 Responses to “About Peas and Their Pods”

  1. monica Says:

    I love peas! they are perfect!

  2. Jenette Lehmberg Says:

    This site is so great that i will honor it with my comment :)


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    [...] this week we discussed peas and how healthy and versatile they are. Here’s a recipe for a refreshing snow pea and radish salad [...]

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