Peas: Healthy enjoyment

Peas enrich the menu as pea stew, in soups, as a puree or as a delicious sugar snap pea. The spherical vegetable may be small, but it packs a punch, because peas have many a surprise in store when it comes to proteins and other healthy ingredients. We’ll tell you what’s in peas and what needs to be considered with regard to their shelf life.

Peas – vegetable protein bomb

Fresh green peas are about 70 percent water. Their protein content is around 7 percent. Dried peas, on the other hand, have a protein content of 20 percent. This proportion of vegetable protein makes peas the frontrunner among legumes and an ideal  source of protein  – not only for  vegetarians  and vegans. 

Due to their very special combination of  amino acids, pea proteins are  particularly valuable for muscle building, the condition of skin and hair and for healthy connective tissue. In addition, pea proteins have a positive effect on blood lipid levels, support general health and the body’s performance. 

What else is in peas?

Peas not only contain a lot of protein, but also little fat. 100 grams of fresh peas have the following nutritional values:

  • 0.5 grams of fat
  • 12.3 grams of carbohydrates, of which 5.5 grams are sugars
  • 5 grams  of fiber

Fresh peas have a  calorie content of 82 kilocalories  (kcal) and are therefore not exactly one of the lowest-calorie vegetables. Dried peas even weigh in at 287 kilocalories.

100 grams of dry goods also have the following nutritional values:

  • 1.7 grams of fat
  • 42.4 grams of carbohydrates, of which 19.1 grams of sugar 
  • 18.1 grams of fiber

Healthy ingredients

Peas contain vitamin A and  vitamin C  and have a considerable content of  folic acid  . There are also various other vitamins from the B group. The valuable ingredients also include iron, calcium,  potassium , magnesium and  zinc

Similar to the  banana,  the outer shell offers the peas, which are ripening inside, strong protection against harmful environmental influences, so that they absorb hardly any pollutants from the air. 

But peas do not only contain  healthy ingredients:  the secondary plant substance tannin can have a negative effect on digestion and lead to  flatulence  and  constipation  . Animal experiments also indicate that the plant estrogen (phytoestrogen) contained in peas can reduce fertility. However, neither should prevent you from eating the healthy vegetables, as long as the consumption is within normal limits.

Vegetable enjoyment available all year round 

Sugar snap peas and fresh green peas make their seasonal appearance from June to August and are mostly locally sourced during these months. The seasonal goods are taken from the field to the table in the shortest possible way. 

As early as May, fresh peas and pods are offered as imported goods from southern Europe. Outside of these harvest months, the small green balls usually travel quite long distances to get to the domestic market. 

However, peas, and above all their healthy ingredients, suffer from the long transport routes. Ideally, it should be eaten on the day of purchase. If this is not possible, the pods can also be stored in a cling bag or wrapped in a damp cloth in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for up to two days.

Increase shelf life of peas

Since the vegetables spoil quickly, they are mainly available preserved. Green peas are particularly  good for freezing.  The tasty vegetables are therefore available as frozen goods all year round. 

Traditional preservation methods include drying, preserving in jars and cans, and processing into mushy peas. The puree is sold as a preserve and as a dry product. 

In contrast to cooking, the tender peas survive drying and freezing without any significant loss of nutritional value. The imprinted date provides information about the respective shelf life. Domed can lids or tubes indicate inedibility. Long-lasting preserves and jars should also be stored in a dry, cool and dark place. 

Versatility of healthy pea power 

The legumes can be used in many different ways both as a fresh product and in a dried, pickled or frozen state. Whether as an ingredient in pasta salad, as a tasty addition to pea soup, as a colorful vegetable double with tender  carrots  or as an important component of the almost forgotten Leipziger Allerleis, which is prepared with morels, asparagus, crabs and other delicacies –   there are many recipes for preparing peas

Normally, peas are eaten without the pod, as these are not edible – but with mangetout, they can be eaten. The fresh pods house the not yet fully developed peas – botanically speaking, these are the seeds – and are served as tender vegetables after boiling for almost five minutes. 

Once the peas have reached optimum maturity, they are removed from the pods and can then be steamed or blanched in salted water. Only very young peas have a subtle sweetness and can be eaten raw at this stage without hesitation. Even later, raw peas are not poisonous, unlike beans, but they taste floury.

Peas are recapturing the allotment gardens

Archaeologists found that the first traces of the cultivated plant are around 10,000 years old. The peas, originally from Asia, are also ideal for growing in the home garden. 

Sowing is done in rows with generous spacing in the period from mid-March to mid-April. The plants thrive very well in humus-rich soil and in the company of lettuce,  chard  and radish. 

As they grow, they can reach a height of up to two meters and therefore require stable climbing aids. They bear beautiful flowers of different colors in the months of May and June. The pea harvest begins three to four months after flowering.

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