Hey, Sweet Pea, is that you? Why, I hardly recognized you, you look so fresh and fabulous, even downright stylish.
Let’s face it, peas have come a long way since we were kids. Their humble beginnings, from the box and can, got them off to a poor start in the fashionable vegetable world. But now, as their fresh and natural selves, they are positively on trend this season. Starting this May, and going all through the summer, the idea of peas on your plate will be absolutely modern. If you’re smart you’ll get them while they are freshest and buying them locally is best.
In the Northwest, snap and snow pea season extends from May through August, and get ready for shell peas from July through October. Although considered a starchy vegetable, when they are just picked they are actually quite sweet. Slowly, after harvest, peas begin to convert their sweet sugars into more complex carbohydrate starches, and the flavor and texture change with it. So when you buy them, eat them quickly for best results.
“Don’t let the humility of the pea fool you. It is a tiny powerhouse full of strong nutrition components, low in fat, high in protein, fiber and phytonutrients.”
Don’t let the humility of the pea fool you. It is a tiny powerhouse full of strong nutrition components, low in fat, high in protein, fiber and phytonutrients. They contain high levels of antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids, and have impressive omega three fatty acid content, giving them anti-inflammatory properties. Peas also have their own exclusive nutrient that we will likely hear more about in the future, called pisumsaponins. Studies show that this important component may help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes; additionally their unique polyphenols may even play a role in the prevention of stomach cancer. There are so many nutritious reasons to eat peas. (See care2.com/greenliving.)
Peas are also good for the agricultural environment. They use less water and are one of the few crops that actually put nutrients back into the ground. They do this by way of nitrogen fixation, grabbing nitrogen from the air and bringing it into the soil, which has a fertilizing effect. So when you eat peas you can rest assured that they are not only doing some good for you, they are also doing good for Mother Earth.