Sunday, February 22, 2009

Apple #371: Beans -- green peas

This is the seventh entry in a series about Beans.


Green peas, still in the pod.
(Photo from Ramoverseas)

Classified as:
  • Technically a fruit. But since they're sold fresh, most agricultural organizations classify them as a vegetable.
  • Not a pulse.
  • Species name: Pisum sativum.
  • The garden pea is the same species, but it is sold dry and is considered a pulse.

The pods of snap peas are a little flatter and broader than the green pea.
(Photo from, where you can buy seeds for these guys)

General facts:
  • Only about 5% of peas that are grown are sold fresh. The rest are frozen or canned (boo on canned).
  • If you're buying them fresh, you'll get them in the pod. Sometimes the pods are thick and tough and even though you could eat the pod, it can be pretty fibrous so it's best to shell those peas out of there.
  • With snap peas, the pods are less rounded and tend not to be as fibrous so they'll be easier to eat. These might have that "string" which we encountered on the green bean, and which you'll want to pull off.
  • With snow peas -- same species as snap peas, but different variety -- the pea (seed) is much smaller and the pod is flatter and sweet. Best to eat the whole thing, pod and pea.
  • Like green beans, green peas are also high in vitamin K.
  • I think frozen peas are easiest to work with, and they still turn out tasting moist and bright and cheery. The Barefoot Contessa agrees. She makes her pot pie with frozen peas.

Next bean, by popular demand: fava beans.

The World's Healthiest Foods, Green peas, Encyclopedia, Snap pea and Snow peas
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, legumes
USDA Plants Database, Classification Down to Family Fabaceae
FAO, Definition and Classification of Commodities, 4. Pulses and Derived Products
NationMaster, Encyclopedia, Pulses
Wikipedia, Fabaceae and pulses
Edhat Santa Barbara, Veggie of the Week - Shell Beans

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