green pea pod

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Description

The pea is a green, pod-shaped vegetable, widely grown as a cool-season vegetable crop. A pea pod is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the legume Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Although it is botanically a fruit it is treated as a vegetable in cooking. In early times, peas were grown mostly for their dry seeds. In modern times, however, peas are usually boiled or steamed, which breaks down the cell walls and makes the taste sweeter and the nutrients more bio-available.

How to select

When purchasing garden pea pods, look for those which are firm, velvety and smooth. Their color should be a lively medium green. Those whose green color is especially light or dark, or those that are yellow, whitish or are speckled with gray, should be avoided. Additionally, do not choose pods that are puffy, water soaked or have mildew residue. The pods should contain peas of sufficient number and size that there is not much empty room in the pod. All varieties of fresh peas should be displayed in a refrigerated case since heat will hasten the conversion of their sugar content into starch. Frozen peas are preferable to canned peas as they retain their flavor and have lower sodium content.

Culinary uses

· Fresh peas pods are often eaten boiled and flavored with butter and/or spearmint as a side dish vegetable. Salt and pepper are also commonly added to peas when served. Fresh peas are also used in pot pies, salads and casseroles.
· In India, fresh peas pods are used in various dishes such as aloo matar (curried potatoes with peas) or matar paneer (paneer cheese with peas), though they can be substituted with frozen peas as well. Peas are also eaten raw, as they are sweet when fresh off the bush.
· Dried pea pods are often made into a soup or simply eaten on their own .
· The pea pods may be roasted and salted, and then eaten as snacks.
· In Chinese cuisine, pea sprouts made from soaking pea pods are commonly used in stir-fries.

How to store

Pea pods do not keep well once picked, and if not used quickly are best preserved by drying, canning or freezing within a few hours of harvest. If you will not be using fresh pea pods on the day of purchase, which is the best way to enjoy them, you should refrigerate them as quickly as possible in order to preserve their sugar content, preventing it from turning into starch. Unwashed, unshelled pea pods stored in the refrigerator in a bag or unsealed container will keep for several days.

Health benefits

· Nature packages green peas in several different forms all of which have a vibrantly delicious flavor, wonderful texture and a wealth of health-promoting nutrients.
· They are a very good source of vitamin K and dietary fiber.
· Green pea pods also serve as a very good source of folic acid and a good source of vitamin B6.




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