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Give Peas a Chance ...

Updated: Jun 2, 2022


I don’t know about you, but I just love peas. When they are fresh they are just plain amazing. When they are frozen they are still delicious and always available. Dried peas can last for years and come back to life in an excellent soup.


They can be canned too but … I’ll be kind about this. They’re way better when they are fresh, frozen or dried.


They are so pretty too! What a wonderful color when you cook them just enough… it’s almost an electric green!





As I'm sure you know, Peas are in the group of plant foods known as legumes. Legumes are plants that produce pods with seeds, or beans, inside. It turns out that (big surprise) legumes are super good for you too.


So why don’t we eat more peas? Maybe it’s because everybody is so stuffed full of corn there’s no room for peas…



CORN: The 800lb Gorilla of the American Diet

Don’t get me wrong, I love munching on a fresh ear of sweet corn, especially when it is grown locally and in season. To me, it is just not Summer Time unless I get me some corn on the cob. And corn can be good for you too. CORN is rich in fiber and plant compounds that “may” aid digestive and eye health. And, as Cheech and Chong taught us, it is very texturally artistic after you eat it.


HOWEVER...

It is very high in starch

Eating it causes a spike in your blood sugar

And... It may actually prevent weight loss when consumed in excess.


And as it turns out, in this country it is generally consumed in excess.


The reason is that Corn is a Super Big Business in this country. As a result, you will find Corn in some form or other in almost EVERYTHING you eat. Corn oil, corn syrup, corn flakes... It goes on and on.


There are actually more than 90 million acres of U.S. land devoted exclusively to corn. 95% of all livestock feed is made from or with corn. I imagine that it is a good livestock feed for the same reason that it is bad for us… it makes the livestock gain weight.


Both corn and peas grow best in warm conditions and full sun. But Corn is high maintenance and it needs frequent nitrogen applications to produce full, heavy ears because Corn depletes the soil of nutrients as it grows. Peas, on the other hand, actually enrich the soil by "fixing" nitrogen and it rarely need additional fertilizer.


What about Nutritional Value

Corn has 6% more Calories, 29% more Carbs and get this... 238% more Fat than Peas.


Peas have 61% more Dietary Fiber and 40% more Protein than Corn.


And for those who care to compare further ...


Peas kick Corn's butt when it comes to these nutrients.


Thiamine: - about 42% more than corn.

Riboflavin: - about 58% more than corn.

Niacin: - about 15% more than corn.

B6: - about 45% more than corn.

Folic acid: - about 35% more than corn.

vitamin C: - about 83% more than corn.

vitamin E: - about 46% more than corn.

vitamin K: - about 99% more than corn.

Beta karoten: - about 96% more than corn.

Calcium: - about 92% more than corn.

Iron: - about 65% more than corn.

Zinc: - about 63% more than corn.



On the other hand CORN does contain more of some nutrients


Magnesium: corn - about 12% more than peas.

Potassium: corn - about 11% more than peas.

Sodium: corn - about 200% more than peas.

Vitaminium B5: corn - about 589% more than peas.

Pantothenic Acid- AKA vitamin B5 has an RDA (recommended daily allowance) of 5 mg

The recommended adequate intake of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is 5 mg per day for adults. It is not known to be toxic in humans but "diarrhea has been documented at intakes of 10 to 20 g per day."




A Little History

Peas are one of the oldest cultivated fruits.


In ancient times, Peas were usually dried to preserve them and then later cooked.


Although a Chinese legend credits Emperor Shen Nung

(known in China as the Father of Agriculture) with discovering the pea 5000 years ago, there is evidence that mankind began cultivating peas around 10,000 BCE. Knowledge of the cultivation and preparation of peas spread throughout Europe via the trade routes to China.



In Europe, the practiceof eating fresh peas became popular in the 1600s and colonists brought peas from Europe to America and began cultivating them here.




There are two different kinds of peas

Shelling Peas:

There is a membrane inside the pod between the pod and the peas. As the pod ripens the membrane dries, hardens and contracts. This hardening of the membrane causes the pod to twist open and expel the peas. The pod itself is largely inedible.


Edible Pod Peas :

Edible Pod Peas do not have the tough inner membrane. When the pods are ripe, the entire pod is edible. The best known varieties of Edible Pod Peas are Sugar Snap Peas and Snow Peas.



Sugar Snap Peas have plump rounded pods and are very juicy. They died out centuries ago and were only re-introduced to our diet in the 1970’s.





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Snow Pea pods are flattened and the peas themselves are visible as lumps under the pod. They remind me of little cats hiding under a blanket.

They have been cultivated for thousands of years and are used in many Asian dishes, especially Chinese.








As I said at the beginning of this post, I really love peas. Frozen peas (which come from the Shelling Pea variety) are a staple that I will toss into just about any dish to make it better. They are by far the most economical way to enjoy peas. Snow Peas and Sugar Snaps tend to be relatively expensive in most supermarkets, but I've found decent prices at Chinese or Asian markets like the 99 Ranch Market


Raw Sugar Snaps make a super delicious snack. I have never eaten a cooked one. I love running them under cold water in a colander and munching on them while I watch TV.


I use Snow Peas when I make stir fry. I pop them in when everything is almost cooked so they don't go soft and will be nice and crunchy. They are such a beautiful color too!


Enjoy ...


 

Until the Next Time ... So Long from Bob's Diner


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