A variety of yellow or green field pea that is grown specifically for drying. These peas are often dried and split along a natural seam, whereupon they are called “split peas” and are used in soups and other dishes.

When fresh peas are not available or when you want to enjoy a starchier, hardier flavored legume, dried peas are perfect. They are available either whole or split, the latter being appropriately called “split peas.” While we generally associate dried peas with a deep green color, they are also available in a yellow color, which offers a more delicate flavor and is the type generally preferred in northern European countries. Dried peas are produced by harvesting the peapods when they are fully mature and then drying them. Peas are known scientifically as Pisum sativum.

Before preparing dried peas, whether whole or split, inspect and remove any debris or dirt. Whole peas need to be soaked in cold water for at least eight hours before cooking, while split peas do not need this extra preparation. To prepare peas, place the legumes in a saucepan using three cups of fresh water for each cup of peas. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Whole peas generally take about an hour to become tender while split peas only take about 30 minutes. Foam may form during the first 15 minutes of cooking, which can simply be skimmed off.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:

Use split peas to make dahl, the classic Indian dish.

Split pea soup, whether homemade or from a container, is a delicious way to enjoy this nutritious legume.  In England, they are used to make pease pudding.

Purée cooked peas with your favorite herbs and spices and serve as a side dish.

Add whole peas to vegetable soups.

plural: split peas

Season: available year-round

Substitutions: split peas = lentils = mung beans

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