A small, round green vegetable from the legume family. Also known as the garden pea. Unlike snow peas, which are eaten pod and all, green peas are eaten without the pod. Used by the Greeks and Romans long before Christian times.
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. Along with broad beans and lentils, these formed an important part of the diet of most people in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe during the Middle Ages. By the 17th and 18th centuries it had become popular to eat peas “green”, that is, while they are immature and right after they are picked. This was especially true in France and England, where the eating of green peas was said to be “both a fashion and a madness”. New cultivars of peas were developed by the English during this time which became known as garden peas and English peas. The popularity of green peas spread to North America. Thomas Jefferson grew more than 30 cultivars of peas on his estate. With the invention of canning and freezing of foods, green peas became available year-round, and not just in the spring as before.
Season: available year-round
How to prepare: boil, steam, stir-fry
Matches well with: almonds, bacon, butter, carrots, chives, cream, chicken, fennel, garlic, gravy, ham, leeks, lemon, lettuce, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, mint, mushrooms, nutmeg, onions, parsley, peanuts, prosciutto, rice, risotto, rosemary, sage, shallots, vinegar