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Peas

Introduction
A peas is the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the legume, each pod contains numerous peas that is used as a fresh vegetable. Peas are a cool weather crop whose origin goes back a long way, maybe to northern India or Burma. By 500 to 400 BCE it was common to see them in Athens and Rome. During the Middle Ages in Britain people relied on dried peas to keep them alive during long winters. Although treated as a vegetable in cooking, it is botanically a fruit. The name is also used to describe other edible seeds from the Fabaceae such as the pigeon peas, the cow pea and the seeds from several species of Lathyrus.

 

Cultivation
Pea is an annual plant, with a life cycle of one year. It is a cool season crop grown in many parts of the world. Planting can take place from winter through to early summer depending on location. The average peas weighs between 0.1 and 0.36 grams, and are typically called field peas. The seeds may be planted as soon as the soil temperature reaches 10°C, with the plants growing best at temperatures of 55'F to 65'F (13°C - 18°C). They do not thrive in the summer heat of warmer temperate and lowland tropical climates but do grow well in cooler high altitude tropical areas. Many cultivators reach maturity about 60 days after planting. Generally, peas are to be grown outdoors during the winter, not in greenhouses. Peas grow best in slightly acidic, well-drained soils

 

Sowing the Peas

  • Prepare fertile soil for garden peas. Compost, processed or well-rotted manure are excellent organic amendments to incorporate with your planting soil.
  • Make your rows in a north/south direction for best sun exposure and air circulation.
  • Soak the seeds for an hour or more prior the sowing.
  • Treat the seeds with a nitrogen inoculant before seeding (to fix the nitrogen in the soil) and hasten germination.
  • Dig a furrow 4 inches deep, covering the seeds with only 1 inch of soil, then fill in as seedlings develop.
  • Space seeds about 1 to 2 inches apart in the row.
  • Thin seedlings to 2 inches apart when they are 4 inches high.
  • Space rows about 24 to 30 inches apart. Bush varieties can be grown in wide rows, spacing the seeds only 2 inches apart in all directions. Pole types can be planted on both sides of the trellis support to double yield.
  • Seeds usually germinate in 10 to 20 days, depending upon soil moisture and weather conditions.
  • Sow seeds at 2 to 3 week intervals, until mid-spring for continual harvest. Sow in mid-July for fall harvest.
  • Be certain to put up trellis support for climbing (pole) varieties, as soon as seedlings are 2 to 4 inches high.
  • When vines begin to die back, either compost or spade them into the soil.
 

As Food
Peas are usually boiled or steamed which breaks down the cell walls and makes the taste sweeter and the nutrients more bio-available. 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. Pod peas (particularly sweet cultivars called mange tout and sugar peas, or the flatter 'snow peas, are used in stir-fried dishes, particularly those in American Chinese cuisine. peas pods do not keep well once picked, and if not used quickly are best preserved by drying, canning or freezing within a few hours of harvest. 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. In Japan, China, Taiwan and some South-east Asian countries, including Thailand and Malaysia, the peas are roasted and salted, and eaten as snacks. In the UK, dried yellow split peas are used to make peas pudding a traditional dish. In North America a similarly traditional dish is split peas soup.

Artsoppa is a traditional Scandinavian food which predates the Viking era. This food was made from a fast-growing peas that would mature in a short growing season. Artsoppa was especially popular among the many poor who traditionally only had one pot and everything was cooked together for a dinner using a tripod to hold the pot over the fire. When pork was available it was known as Artsoppa och flask and this tradition has continued to the present day. After the Christian conversion this soup was served on Thursday evening because Friday was a fasting day.

In Chinese cuisine, peas sprouts are commonly used in stir-fries and its price is relatively high due to its agreeable taste. peas leaves are often considered a delicacy as well.

In Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and other parts of the Mediterranean, peas are made into a stew with meat and potatoes. In Greek this stew is called arakas, whilst in Cyprus and Turkey it is called mpizeli or mpizelia.

In the United Kingdom, dried, rehydrated and mashed marrow fat peas, known by the public as mushy peas, are popular, originally in the north of England but now ubiquitously and especially as an accompaniment to fish and chips or meat pies, particularly in fish and chip shops. Sodium bicarbonate is sometimes added to soften the peas. In 2005, a poll of 2,000 people revealed the peas to be Britain's 7th favorite culinary vegetable. Processed peas are mature peas which have been dried, soaked and then heat treated (processed) to prevent spoilage, in the same manner as pasteurizing.

 

Nutritional Value

 
  • Per 100 g (3.5 oz)
  • Energy 80 kcal 340 kJ
  • Carbohydrates 14.5 g
  • Sugars 5.7 g
  • Dietary fiber 5.1 g
  • Fat 0.4 g
  • Protein 5.4 g
  • Vitamin A equiv. 38 ?g 04 %
  • - ?-carotene 449 ?g 04 %
  • Thiamin (Vit. B1) 0.3 mg 23 %
  • Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.1 mg 07 %
  • Niacin (Vit. B3) 2.1 mg 14 %
  • Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.1 mg 02 %
  • Vitamin B6 0.2 mg 15 %
  • Folate (Vit. B9) 65 ?g 16 %
  • Vitamin C 40.0 mg 67 %
  • Calcium 25.0 mg 03 %
  • Iron 1.5 mg 12 %
  • Magnesium 33.0 mg 09 %
  • Phosphorus 108 mg 15 %
  • Potassium 244 mg 05 %
  • Zinc 1.2 mg 12 %
 
 
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