Pretty Peas All In A Row
"How luscious lies the pea within the pod." - Emily Dickinson
My Dad grew up on a small family farm surrounded by corn and soybeans planted by his Dad, several older brothers, and one hard working mule that pulled the single row plow. Long rows of sweet corn, green beans, peas, tomatoes, and onions planted in the field nearest the farm house supplied a bounty of vegetables to feed the large family. My Dad and Mom continued the farming tradition and tended a large garden with a variety of vegetables for their own growing family. I adored eating the super sweet corn, but my typical mature response to any vegetable that was not a favorite involved a narrow eyed glare of suspicion, a poking about of the suspicious food, a firming of spine, a jutting of lower lip, and a vigorous “But I HATE peas! They’re smooshy!” Then I would smash some just to prove my point.
Fortunately, I grew out of the smashing peas phase and discovered that peas are terrific in soups, salads, rice, pasta, or all by themselves. Packed with sufficient protein to serve prominently in a vegetarian main dish and humble enough to be content as a vegetable side dish, peas are as flexible as they are quick to prepare. The nutrition analysis for green peas is simply off the chart in many key nutrients such as vitamin K, several B vitamins, and manganese!
Fresh is best for all green peas, whether it's English or Garden Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, or Snow Peas. To check for freshness, break one in half. If it bends instead of making a nice crispy snap, the pea is too old. Eat the peas within a day or two of when you buy them, or they should be blanched and frozen.
Blanching and Freezing Peas:
To prep the peas for freezing, wash the pods before shelling, blanch them for two minutes in boiling water (cover the pot with a lid during the brief boiling phase), remove from the pot, submerge in large bowl of cold ice water to stop the cooking, spread to dry on a tea towel, and place in a container for freezing. If you are freezing Sugar Snap or Snow Peas, wash and remove the string first, then blanch for five minutes before submerging in the ice-water bath. Frozen peas prepped in this way do not need to be cooked, just heated, so add them at the end if you are adding them to a soup or stew.
Organic supermarket frozen peas are just fine for those who prefer not to blanch and freeze. I’m not a fan of canned peas, though, as they always seem mushy to me and bring out my inner pouting child. Recent reports of the amount of BPA used in the lining of the cans is worrisome as well, which makes me even more unlikely to buy canned peas.
Peas are so kid friendly. Set out bowls of rinsed and dried pods and ask the kids to pop them open. Show them how tasty it is to munch as you shell! Another absolutely fantastic way to convince a small anti-vegetable person that peas are wonderful is to give them a small bowl of frozen peas to nosh like popcorn! If your kids think they don’t like heated peas, try varying the seasonings you use until you find one they like. Peas are great when seasoned with spearmint, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme.
Baked Sugar Snap Peas, are so simple, you’ll want to make them as often as possible.
Peas and Prosciutto is perfect for family and beautiful enough to accent any special meal.
Asparagus and Peas from Calorie Count is delicious nutrition for just a few calories!
Emily was right as usual. Peas within the pod, or without, are simply delicious. Feel like cooking peas for dinner? They can be prepared in a snap and finding a great new recipe is so simple with your friends at Calorie Count!
Do you buy peas fresh or frozen? Do you shop at a farmers market or grow your own? What is your favorite recipe for peas? Are you concerned by the new studies about BPA in canned food? Did you mush them up on your plate when you were a kid? Did you ever try eating them frozen? This article may be reprinted (including bio) with prior permission from the author.