Peas are a common vegetable grown in many home gardens around the world. Botanically recognised as Pisum sativum. Varieties include “macrocarpon” (Snow peas or Snap peas) and “hortense” (Podded peas) from the family Fabaceae. Peas originated in areas around Turkey and Western Asia.

Peas grow best in cooler climates where temperatures are below 25 degrees Celsius. Down to as low as 15 degrees Celsius. Plants will also grow well at temperatures below this but their growth will be slower and flowers and pods will be more susceptible to frost.

The soil does not need major attention for growing peas. As Legumes, peas develop nitrogen nodules on their roots enabling them to access nitrogen from the soil.

Peas come in three basic varieties. Podded peas are what we traditionally recognise as peas where the pod has been removed and discarded. Snow Peas are picked when the pod is large but the peas inside have not developed. Snap Peas are similar to Snow Peas but the peas inside have matured a little more.

Nutritionally pease are a good source of dietary fibre and protein and a very low in fat. Peas provide a good supply of Vitamin A and an excellent source of Vitamin C. Peas are also a good source of B Group Vitamins – Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) and Folate (Vitamin B9).

Peas are also a good source of dietary minerals – Potassium, Phosphorous, Zinc, Magnesium, Iron and Calcium.

Fresh is always best but when not available, peas can be purchased frozen, canned or dehydrated from your local supermarket.

Podded Peas can be used in the kitchen in a variety of ways.

- Podded Peas are most commonly used as a side vegetable often in conjunction with carrots and potatoes with meat or vegetarian alternative.

- Peas make excellent additions to Stews and Casseroles for Flavour as well as adding life and colour. Pease also assist as a thickening agent in these types of dishes.

- Peas are commonly added to soup for reasons similar to their addition in Stews and Casseroles. Pea and Ham soup is common soup in many countries around the world.

- Podded peas are delicious raw straight from the pod. As a kid in my dads vegetable garden I would often have a very unsettling sleep due to an overindulgence of fresh raw peas during the day.

Snap Peas and Snow Peas can be used in many similar ways to podded peas, though not usually in soups and stews. They are most commonly used in Chinese dishes such as stir-fries and Noodle dishes. They are also delicious on their own whether boiled or steamed.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites... for Organic Health related products and information on living an Organic Lifestyle. for general health information and articles on living a Healthy Lifestyle.

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