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The pea is a green, pod-shaped vegetable, widely grown as a cool-season vegetable crop. A pea 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.
Blanched green peas
Wash the green peas thoroughly and put into a saucepan of boiling water. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain off the water and use as desired. To retain the colour of the green peas you can add a pinch of salt and soda to the boiling water and after boiling immerse it in cold water for maximum freshness.
Boiled and crushed green peas
Boil the green peas in enough water along with some salt and sugar to retain its bright green colour till the peas turn soft. Cool and crush using a crusher or blend in a mixer into a coarse mixture. Use as required.
Boiled and mashed green peas
Wash the green peas thoroughly and put into a saucepan of boiling water. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain off the water and use as desired. To retain the colour of the green peas you can add a pinch of salt and soda to the boiling water and after boiling immerse it in cold water for maximum freshness. After draining mash them using a fork to get coarsely mashed green peas or using a potato masher for completely mashed green peas.
Boiled green peas
Peas are boiled in twice the amount of water in a covered pan. After boiling drain the water and use the green peas as per the recipe.
Green peas puree
A Pea Purée recipe is made using fresh or frozen garden peas and fresh mint which are cooked quickly and mashed. Pea Purée should not be mistaken for Mushy Peas. Mushy peas are dried marrowfat peas which undergo a long slow cooking with bicarbonate of soda to make the peas swell and burst into a 'mush'. Pea Purée is a delicious side dish to serve with almost all meat and fish dishes. It is particularly lovely with oily fish such as the Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes.
How to select
Parboiled green peas
Parboiling is a cooking technique in which peas are partially cooked in boiling water, but removed before it is cooked all the way through. Many recipes call for parboiled peas as they longer to cook. Parboiling them in advances ensures that they get completely cooked in the final dish.
When purchasing garden peas, look for ones whose pods 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 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 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 peas are often made into a soup or simply eaten on their own .
· the peas are roasted and salted, and eaten as snacks.
· In Chinese cuisine, pea sprouts are commonly used in stir-fries.How to store
If you will not be using fresh peas 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 peas stored in the refrigerator in a bag or unsealed container will keep for several days. Fresh peas can also be blanched for one or two minutes and then frozen and used for months.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 peas also serve as a very good source of folic acid and a good source of vitamin B6.