Discovering our food: green peas

Hello my dear readers,

Ready to discover another wonderful food that this planet give us?

Because is spring time, let’s discover today the green peas, one of my spring symbols 🌸

Everything you need to know about peas_Popsicle Society

You will find in this post:

  • green peas’ origins

  • green peas’ varieties

  • green peas’ seasonality

  • how to choose and buy green peas

  • green peas cultivation (even in a pot)

  • how to cook green peas

 

And that being said, let’s start!

Green Peas Origins

Green peas origins_Popsicle Society

Peas are legumes with a green colour and round shape, contained in the pods of a herbaceous and annual plant with the scientific name Pisum Sativum, which belongs to the Fabaceae family, the same as beans, chickpeas, peanuts and lentils, and areΒ among the most consumed legumes in the Mediterranean diet.

Both dry as farinaceous and in its fresh or frozen version, the pea has therefore contributed for thousands of years to defining the diet of the Mediterranean and beyond, to such an extent that today it is consumed practically seamless throughout the world, and during the entire year.

The green peas, which are a symbol of the spring, it is not clear where they come from.

It is thought from Asia imported by the people of Arii; but they have been found in Turkey, in the excavations of Halicat as early as 5,500 BC, as well as in the ruins of Troy and in the Egyptian pyramid.

Certainly they were known to the Egyptians and also to the Greeks and Romans who found them delicious, as evidenced by the Latin Pliny and the Greek Theophrastus.

But the real fame came in 1600 when it became fashionable for the aristocracy to eat peas with the consequence that their price reached the stars and only the richest could afford them.

For thousands of years they have not been eaten fresh but dried after harvest thanks to their excellent storage capacity.

Sweet peas flowers bouquet_Popsicle Society

Symbol of luck and prosperity, in the past the white and yellow flowers of this legume were intertwined in garlands for the brides, while the green spheres of the pod were one of the main sources of nourishment.

In gastronomic literature they appear for the first time in France, dried in a kind of milk puree.

Β«The chapter of peas still lasts: the impatience to eat them, the pleasure of having eaten them, the joy of being able to eat them again are the three points that our principles have been dealing with for four days. There are ladies who, after having dinner with the king, they make peas prepared at home to eat them before going to sleep, at risk of indigestion. It is a fashion, a fury Β».

This letter from Madame de Maintenon, dated 10 May 1696, tells of the passion for green legumes that raged at the end of the seventeenth century in France, at the court of Louis XIV. “It’s amazing,” wrote a biographer from Colbert the year before, “to see people so dedicated to pleasure that they buy green peas for huge sums.”

The peas that the Court of France liked so much were very green, before ripening: “The younger they are, the more excellent they are,” describes them Nicolas de Bonnefons, a master of the dining room serving the king. They were not the only fashionable vegetables at that time: artichokes, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus are equally widespread in seventeenth-century haute cuisine, which gradually abandons the strong flavors of the medieval tradition (the huge meat dishes covered with spices) in favor of softer and more delicate flavors.

Court gastronomy discovers new elements of distinction when the use of exotic products such as spices no longer serves to mark the differences, now that the commercial flows opened by ocean voyages make them less expensive and more accessible: and paradoxically it it does by rediscovering products with a ‘peasant’ aftertaste.

The farmers certainly could not afford to give up the volume and nourishing capacity of well-ripe peas, ‘wasting them’ still in the grass. They preferred to make them grow well, perhaps dry them and then reduce them in flour, to mix with that of cereals or other legumes. With these flours the farmers made baby food, polenta, sometimes bread.

In the Italian tradition, peas have a prominent place especially fresh (today also frozen which can be used as fresh).

Green Peas VarietiesΒ 

Green peas varieties_Popsicle Society

There are several varieties of peas, such as climbing peas, dwarf peas, half-pea peas and the sugar peas or edible-pod peas or snow peas variety.

Among the varieties to be shelled, there are peas with a smooth seed and peas with a rough seed.

Fresh peas ripen during the spring season, and can be eaten both cooked and raw, when they are tender.

Green Peas Seasonality

Fresh peas begin to appear in the markets and in the large retailers around April, but the best time to buy them is certainly from May to June.

The seasonality of the peas is in fact rather reduced, and it is therefore useful, if you choose to keep them, to buy them in this period, before they “disappear” from the market.

During the other seasons, frozen or dried peas can be eaten after soaking them for several hours. There are also peas in tin or glass cans. The advice is to always prefer fresh products, and possibly at km 0 and organic.

How to choose and buy peas

In the spring – summer period, the choice should always be fresh peas if the ambient allows it. I live in a city where is always summer but fresh peas are not available unfortunately.

Tasty, excellent to eat even raw, fresh peas can then be stored in the freezer for the months to come.

The pod must be of an intense green colour and not yellow, uniform and with a turgid consistency. The individual seeds, if fresh, are also green, slightly hard to the touch and with good flavor.

frozen peas

Canned peas are a useful variant for those who have little time to spend in the kitchen but, in the preservation of the original flavour, it is preferable to choose the glass jars over the metal cans.

Dry peas and frozen peas, however, can be purchased without difficulty all year round and eaten after soaking and cooking.

Green Peas Cultivation

Green peas cultivation_Popsicle Society

The pea plant is a hardy leafy annual plant with hollow trailing or climbing stems that reach up to 1.8 meters (6 feet) in length.

If you intend to grow green peas in your garden the best option is to start with dwarf peas.

Climate and soil

This vegetable does not like humidity, so the soil must be well prepared with a process that makes it draining correctly and throughout the cultivation it must be ensured that the earth does not make a crust, intervening when necessary with the hoe.

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Sowing period

The pea seed needs a few degrees to come out, 7-8 degrees are enough and once is out it resists the cold very well, even ten degrees below zero. It can be sown in October -November or between the end of February and the beginning of March.

Harvesting

Typically a pea plant from sowing to harvest takes 90-100 days. When the pod is turgid it must be harvested, before it becomes wrinkled, otherwise the seed becomes hard.

Cultivating the green peas in our balcony

Cultivating peas in balcony_Popsicle Society

Is this even possible? Well, yes.

If you are like me and you live in an apartment and don’t have the possibility to have a garden, you still can enjoy fresh green peas grown in your balcony.

Peas are vegetables that we can grow even with little space and, depending on the variety, without too much care and in marginal places.

Why deprive ourselves of this pleasure?

Here are a few simple tips for growing peas in pots on the balcony.

If you have decided to grow peas in your garden on the balcony, choose a vase at least 40 centimeters wide.

Choose a location in full sun, especially if you live in the northern regions; however, this legume produces well even in partially shaded areas.

Choose a medium-textured soil, well worked and avoid those that are too compact, or with a strong presence of calcium.

Green peas and flowers_Popsicle Society

Regular watering and mulching made with natural materials will suffice. Always avoid stagnant water.

HarvestΒ your pods when they are still tender. Better, in fact, to harvest them in advance, before they become wrinkled! Remember that the heat they receive accelerates their maturation; gently remove the pods, from top to bottom.

Once harvested, have fun shelling them to finally consume them very fresh.

If you have too many you may freeze them, but try to savour at least one dish made with your freshly picked peas and you can no longer give up!

A small natural wonder! How not to love it?

Happy growing!

How to cook green peas

How to cook green peas_Popsicle Society

Peas are very versatile in the kitchen. They can be eaten with pasta or other cereals, in order to complete the protein picture. In this way, also associated with other vegetables, they become a complete dish.

Or they can be used to make velvety cream soups, but also meatballs or vegetable burgers.

Peas can also be used to prepare hummus, a cream made from legumes and tahin sauce, an excellent appetiser spread on slices of toasted bread.

Green peas are a well loved legume, that can be used as a complete dish or side dishes but also to accompany fish and meat.

Do you like green peas? Are one of my favourite πŸ˜‰

Join me next time and we will see green peas nutrition facts, benefits and contraindications.

See you next time!

Thank you all for reading.

And if you would like to discover more about our food, you may enjoy my previousΒ posts

Wish you a wonderful day!

And please stay at home and stay safe!

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Love,Β R

Popsicle Society_eat your greens emoji

Photo credit: Pixabay & Canva edited by Popsicle Society

52 thoughts

  1. I love green peas when I was a kid, later I became health conscious and one day I wondered how greenish these are and tries to wash it and the color goes there that’s it, I’ve stopped eating it. Here people sell fake green beans coated with some green powder. Not healthy at all. But it’s taste is unbeatable when we get the real green beans, we make veg briyani with green peas which adds a special taste to it. And we can even add this in our salad, lovely post again Ribanna, you are the best ✨ in terms of discovery, you are that one person in the group with high level of curiosity didn’t you πŸ˜‰ I am too 😊. An informative post! Enjoyed reading! And good taste of pictures!! πŸ‘Œ Have a beautiful day Ribanna πŸ’

    1. Fake green peas? really? Oh my….I didn’t know that people are able to fake even our peas 😣😣 that’s so so sad!
      For me for when I was a little girl I used to harvest them from my grandma’s garden…were so so good πŸ˜‹ it smells of spring to me πŸ˜‰πŸŒΈ
      Veg biryani must be really delicious πŸ˜‹
      Thank you very much Simon for your time, for your kind words and support always! πŸ€—
      Yes, curiosity is my thing that makes me keep going and exploring and discovering new things πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ
      Never give up curiosity right? πŸ˜‰
      Have a wonderful day Simon! 🀩😊

      1. One should never give up curiosity and that’s how I discovered fake peasπŸ˜‚ and we still have lot to discover in life, it will be lot exciting than peas, My pleasure Ribanna βœ¨πŸ€— Let’s live curious πŸ™‚

  2. Thorough as ever, Ribana. Most peas on sale here are frozen. Some years ago three of my grandchildren expressed amazement watching me shelling peas. They, although their parents always cooked good, wholesome food, had had no idea where peas came from.

  3. Home grown green peas was a delicatessen when I was a kid We weren’t allowed to eat them, but we did nevertheless πŸ˜‚ Thanks for sharing and have a good day πŸ˜€ Aiva

    1. I’m glad I was not the only one to enjoy these delicatessen when I was a kid πŸ˜‰ Were really delicious and the food made with freshly picked green peas was smelling of spring to me πŸŒΈπŸ˜‰ Thank you Aiva for sharing! Have a lovely day 🌸

    1. Thank you very much! So far I have only experienced growing them in the garden too but since now I don’t have the garden, in the pot is good too πŸ˜‰ 🌱

  4. I love green peas in vegetables and snacks both. In India we get best quality fresh peas only during winter so I prepare home made frozen peas packets for the rest of the year.

    1. I’m glad you like them! That’s a great idea! Usually when we have plenty of fresh veggies we try to freeze them so that we can enjoy them when we wish too πŸ˜‰That’s always a saviour πŸ˜‰

  5. Another great post Ribana! I just love all of these discovering food posts. And I love peas, normally I buy frozen peas, but fresh from the garden peas can’t be beat! My grandparents always had a huge part of their garden for peas. As a kid I never liked eating them raw, but that changed as I got older. They are a fantastic veggie! Thanks for this wonderful look at peas!😁😸🌞🌱

    1. Thank you very much Steve for your kind words! I’m really glad you like this kind of posts! I do love exploring and finding out more about our wonderful food πŸ˜‰
      Seems not only my grandparents were obsessed with their garden πŸ˜‰ such a satisfaction to be able to grow your own veggies πŸ˜‰ and the taste? Priceless πŸ˜‰
      Nowadays I buy them frozen too because I can’t find them fresh here but back home I always used to find them fresh from the farmers market πŸ˜‰ That smell and taste is just too good πŸ˜‰

      1. Yes, we can get them at our farmer’s market but it’s necessary to be there early to get any. Doesn’t look like it will be open this summer however.
        It was interesting how peas were a food for the rich at one time. Who would have thought? It was just a few years ago I discovered that peanuts were related to peas.
        Thanks again for all the work you put into these posts Ribana!πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ΊπŸŒžβ˜•β˜•

      2. Yes, sometimes when I dig for more information I’m amazed how these ingredients were used in the past πŸ€ͺ
        Here unfortunately there isn’t any farmer market at all😒
        Thank you very much Steve! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜»πŸ˜ΊπŸŒ™

    1. Oh yes, I do like paneer too, I’ve tried it with spinach but also with green peas must be delicious πŸ˜‹ what a great combination πŸ˜‰ Thank you for sharing 😊

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