Peas – a crunchy summer treat

5 Jun

This month, we are highlighting peas on our menu. Summer is so very close!

Did you know? Peas were one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite vegetables?  He grew more than 30 different types of peas in his garden!

Garden peas were first found in Asia and the Middle East, and are thought to be one of the first crops ever cultivated.  In the Middle Ages, peas were dried and saved to be eaten when there was a lack of food, or when there was a drought. Today, Canada produces the largest amount of peas, and India is the largest buyer of peas as they are used in many of their traditional dishes.

Why they are  great:

Peas are legumes and a part of the “fabaceae” family along with lentils and chickpeas. They are filled with vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, B, C, E, zinc, potassium, iron and they contain omega 3 fats, which helps strengthen and maintain the health of our brain. Peas have great protein and fiber, keeping us full and giving us energy.  They help our hearts run smoothly, strengthen our bones, help our skin glow, and better our night vision!

Peas grow:

best in full sun and in soil that drains well. After choosing the type of peas you want to grow, you can plant them in early spring when the soil is warm enough for you to dig 1-inch deep holes, 3-4 inches apart.  Peas like to climb! Place a few poles around your peas and they will grow up the poles. Water them with ½ inch of water every week, and once you see flowers, you know it will take three weeks for pea pods to start growing.

Eat them:

There are three types of peas that we commonly eat: garden, snow and snap. Garden peas are flat and need to be shelled from their pod in order to eat. Both snow and snap peas can be eaten raw, and are very crunchy! They taste great when sautéed in vegetable broth for 3 minutes, or mixed with a vinaigrette, added to a frittata, pureed into soup, or mixed with brown rice or pasta. At Butter Beans this month, we are serving them raw on the cold bar, steamed as a hot side, and mixed into our creamy alfredo sauce.

How to pick fresh peas? 

Look for firm pods that are vibrant green and smooth. Place them into your refrigerator in a plastic bag, and they will last around a week.

We will be harvesting peas in abundance this summer at our Food + Garden camp. There are still spaces left for adventurous 7-12 year olds. Click here to learn more.

 

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