Many people associate peas with hearty stews in winter. Peas have a wide range of uses, from salads to purees to casseroles.
Peas belong to the legume genus and are actually plant seeds. They grow hidden in long pods that are easy to open when ripe.
If you harvest peas too early, ” peeling ” (= removing the shell) the pods is very laborious. But the effort is worth it: once the small peas have been harvested, they can be processed into numerous delicious dishes.
There are several types of peas that are best known to us:
- Field peas: are slightly angular, taste sweet and tender and are also called garden peas.
- Pea peas: are smooth and round, taste less sweet (less sugar content), but slightly floury and they are also called peas.
- Sugar peas: taste crisp, very tender and are also called sugar peas. With this variety you can also eat the shell and they also taste very good raw.
It is believed that the peas were already known 7000 years before Christ. It is believed that the Chinese were the first to use them as food. Vegetables made the leap into European cuisine in the 16th century.
In this country the peas come partly from regional production , but mostly from Mediterranean countries such as Italy and Spain. In principle, they are grown all over the world.
Austrian peas are mostly grown outdoors and can then be harvested between June and August. From February to June the market is covered by European imports.
Fresh goods are hardly available in autumn and winter, so frozen peas or canned food are used.
Freshly harvested peas have a crunchy consistency.
Very young peas have a slightly sweet taste.
Very ripe peas taste more floury and should therefore be steamed or blanched in salted water beforehand.
Use in the kitchen
Peas have one major disadvantage if you want to use them fresh: they are in a pod from which they must first be removed.
Info: Of around 1 kg of peas with pods, only around 300 g remain peeled.
However, you should not cut the pea pod with a knife; otherwise the peas could be damaged. It is of course more convenient if you use frozen peas or canned peas.
Peas are traditionally used for stews, soups, purees and casseroles and are often part of hearty dishes.
But more special variants such as pea salad are also quite common.
Young, cooked peas are also very good as an accompaniment to numerous meat and fish dishes.
Storage / shelf life
If peas are freshly harvested, they should be processed as quickly as possible, as they cannot really be stored in this state.
They can be stored unpeeled for a maximum of 5 days in the refrigerator if optimally stored (in a fresh-keeping bag or wrapped in a damp cloth).
Will they not processed immediately, they should be best for a few minutes in salted water blanch, plunge and then freeze. They can last up to 1 year and longer.
Peas can also be dried or boiled down and should then be stored in a dark, cool and dry place. In this form they can be stored for much longer than a year, but they lose a little of their aroma.
Nutritional value / active ingredients
- Peas are high in fiber and therefore promote good digestion.
- They are also very high in protein.
- Peas also contain quite a bit of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Vitamins B1 and B2 and niacin are also noteworthy.
- Peas should be able to lower the cholesterol level sustainably.
Info: 100 grams of peas have only 0.5 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 82 kilocalories and a protein content of 20 percent.