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Calorie Count Blog

Pretty Peas All In A Row


By +Janice D'Agostino on Jul 08, 2011 10:00 AM in Recipes

"How luscious lies the pea within the pod." - Emily Dickinson

My Dad grew up on a small family farm surrounded by corn and soybeans planted by his Dad, several older brothers, and one hard working mule that pulled the single row plow. Long rows of sweet corn, green beans, peas, tomatoes, and onions planted in the field nearest the farm house supplied a bounty of vegetables to feed the large family. My Dad and Mom continued the farming tradition and tended a large garden with a variety of vegetables for their own growing family. I adored eating the super sweet corn, but my typical mature response to any vegetable that was not a favorite involved a narrow eyed glare of suspicion, a poking about of the suspicious food, a firming of spine, a jutting of lower lip, and a vigorous “But I HATE peas! They’re smooshy!” Then I would smash some just to prove my point.

Fortunately, I grew out of the smashing peas phase and discovered that peas are terrific in soups, salads, rice, pasta, or all by themselves. Packed with sufficient protein to serve prominently in a vegetarian main dish and humble enough to be content as a vegetable side dish, peas are as flexible as they are quick to prepare. The nutrition analysis for green peas is simply off the chart in many key nutrients such as vitamin K, several B vitamins, and manganese!

Fresh is best for all green peas, whether it's English or Garden Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, or Snow Peas. To check for freshness, break one in half. If it bends instead of making a nice crispy snap, the pea is too old. Eat the peas within a day or two of when you buy them, or they should be blanched and frozen.

Blanching and Freezing Peas:

To prep the peas for freezing, wash the pods before shelling, blanch them for two minutes in boiling water (cover the pot with a lid during the brief boiling phase), remove from the pot, submerge in large bowl of cold ice water to stop the cooking, spread to dry on a tea towel, and place in a container for freezing. If you are freezing Sugar Snap or Snow Peas, wash and remove the string first, then blanch for five minutes before submerging in the ice-water bath. Frozen peas prepped in this way do not need to be cooked, just heated, so add them at the end if you are adding them to a soup or stew.

Organic supermarket frozen peas are just fine for those who prefer not to blanch and freeze. I’m not a fan of canned peas, though, as they always seem mushy to me and bring out my inner pouting child. Recent reports of the amount of BPA used in the lining of the cans is worrisome as well, which makes me even more unlikely to buy canned peas.

Peas are so kid friendly. Set out bowls of rinsed and dried pods and ask the kids to pop them open. Show them how tasty it is to munch as you shell! Another absolutely fantastic way to convince a small anti-vegetable person that peas are wonderful is to give them a small bowl of frozen peas to nosh like popcorn! If your kids think they don’t like heated peas, try varying the seasonings you use until you find one they like. Peas are great when seasoned with spearmint, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme.

Baked Sugar Snap Peas, are so simple, you’ll want to make them as often as possible.

Feel like a fast to make stir fry? Try this Chinese Snow Pea Stir-Fry from About.com.

Peas and Prosciutto is perfect for family and beautiful enough to accent any special meal.

Peas and Rice is wonderful as a side dish or a main dish. Find it at The CC Palate.

Asparagus and Peas from Calorie Count is delicious nutrition for just a few calories!

Emily was right as usual. Peas within the pod, or without, are simply delicious. Feel like cooking peas for dinner? They can be prepared in a snap and finding a great new recipe is so simple with your friends at Calorie Count!

Your thoughts…

Do you buy peas fresh or frozen? Do you shop at a farmers market or grow your own? What is your favorite recipe for peas? Are you concerned by the new studies about BPA in canned food? Did you mush them up on your plate when you were a kid? Did you ever try eating them frozen?

 

 



Comments


I love peas! We use them in all sorts of ways but I really love to make curried peas and potatoes! The below recipe I use lite coconut milk and frozen peas.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/spicy-vegan-potato-curry/detail .aspx

Another pea product that is excellent is pea protein powder. I use this in my smoothies. It's low cal and easy to digest.

http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SW1169/ItemDetail



I cut snow peas raw,  for salads-- really good!



My kids and I love sugar snap peas. Whether it's eating them in the pod or "unzipping" them to get to the peas inside.  These are a great way to get them to eat vegetables!  These and baby carrots are convenient to munch on as you're preparing dinner too.  I personally believe cooked mushy vegetables are harder to get kids to eat than crunchy raw ones.



ninav - that potato pea curry sounds just fabulous! Unfortunately my husband does not "do" curry. :( So I'll have to wait til he's on a business trip and make that for me!

2laura - I do the same. Peas are so simple to add in to a meal. I agree they are wonderful tossed in a salad.

LOL ds1973 - that was my experience. The day I gave my kids frozen peas was a major advance in the veggie department. I could not believe it when they would beg me for a few frozen peas as if they were a frozen ice cream treat. Had to give them a few at a time though because they only ate them if they stayed frozen!



I buy Mann's Stringless Sugar Snap Peas. I dip them in 1oz. of Sabra Classic Hummus (sold in 2oz. cups pkg. of 12 at BJ's). I measure the portion of sugar snap peas by a grabbing a handful. This is a perfect snack or as a simple raw veggi at lunch.

Note: I have a gastric lap band (2 yrs/over 50lbs. lost so far)



I buy frozen peas. I love putting them in stir-fry and mixed with rice. I've always loved peas as a kid so it was never a struggle for me to eat them. Also, when I was pregnant I would cook a whole pot and just eat them to myself as a snack. 



morenstein - congrats on the weight loss! and thanks for the reminder that sugar snaps are fantastic dipped in hummus!

caja08 - LOL! craving peas!



I have always loved peas. Even as a kid. Peas were one of my favorite vegetables. I usually buy them frozen and use them in lots of different meals, but every once and a while I'll by some fresh snap peas or whatever is on sale at the time. I like to put them into stir-frys.



Original Post by: morenstein

I buy Mann's Stringless Sugar Snap Peas. I dip them in 1oz. of Sabra Classic Hummus (sold in 2oz. cups pkg. of 12 at BJ's). I measure the portion of sugar snap peas by a grabbing a handful. This is a perfect snack or as a simple raw veggi at lunch.

Note: I have a gastric lap band (2 yrs/over 50lbs. lost so far)


Ooh!  thanks for the idea!  I've seen those things and I've been hesitant to get them even though I love Sabra hummus because they come with pretzels and I'm not a big pretzel fan.  It's such an obvious idea I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner!  (And I didn't know they sold them at BJs - even better!)

Now, I'll put some green beans (I got a lot from the CSA this week) in a baggie and take that to work as a snack with the hummus.  I'll give the pretzels to my boyfriend.  (sorry - this isn't exactly pea-related, but green beans are close, right?)

Now, related to peas, really fresh sugar snap peas last much longer than this blog suggests.  I got some at a farmers market 2 weeks ago and didn't get around to cooking them until last night.  I thought I might have to throw them out, but they looked just fine.  So I steamed them for a few minutes and they were indeed perfect.  They tasted so fresh my boyfriend thought they came in yesterday's CSA share.  It was kind of amazing, actually.

 



mewlkitten - I buy my peas frozen too...unless I know I am going to use them asap. Sometimes the poor peas are already looking a bit dubious in the bin at the store.

joyfulake - thanks for your comments and suggestions! Yes, peas from a farmers market will last much longer. You are fortunate to have a reliable CSA! Thanks for the reminder that not everyone gets their peas at a supermarket where guessing pea age can be a toss up.



I like to eat peas raw or frozen  as I loved to make pea and cheese salad ( made with some chopped sweet pickle) and mayo, pickle juice and little milk thinner salt and pepper, easy on the cheese for calories, maybe rinse the sweet pickles to help.  I also discovered a great way to get an extra veggie into the meal by adding yellow crook necked squash - sliced in rounds and tossed in frozen green peas, cook slightly as you toss in a fry pan with little water.  They taste great together and look so pretty in the bowl.  I remember eating peas from my grandfathers garden and baby carrots too - learned a valuable lesson that young.  Don't eat them all cause no one else can have any.  Learned that in my mom's kitchen while they had coffee and I had my milk with a little coffee too. aea



Wow, I just picked a big bag of peas today and my son and I shelled them while watching a movie.  It is now time for blanching them.  Unfortunately, nearly half of the peas ended up inside us before we got to the stove.  YUMMMMM.  I wish they weren't so labor-intensive though.  1 hour to pick and an hour and a half to shell and all we have to show is 2 full bellies and 2 1-quart packages.

 



I was so thrilled with our pea crop this year, small though it was, that I've decided that next year we're really going to do it up.  Have investigated pea shelling machines because dagnabbit, fun as it is, getting the delectable morsels out of the pod just takes too long for big batches. 

jannid, getting my licks in here.  Favorite pea recipe:  shell, steam for 4 minutes.  Eat.



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I'm weird. I love peas COLD. Just defrost them if theyre precooked and eat them on a salad or by themselves cold. Or blanch them and stick them in the freezer for a good amount of tiem to get them just cold and eat them.

 



Peas:  2 cups frozen and rinsed, 2 pinches of dry rubbed mint (or 2 tsp. fresh mint leaves finely chopped), 1/2 cup thin sliced celery (you can include tender leaves also) and water saute for only few minutes until peas are warm and the celery/mint starts to smell great!  Serve over brown or white steamed rice.  I like lots of peas so, I probably would use 1cup of peas to 1 cup of rice.  Wonderful, nutrition!  aea



samhainaz - you are not weird at all! Cold peas are great, that's why they are so wonderful in cold salads.

speaking of which, does anyone have a lower fat 7 Layer Salad to share?

Hi a-e-a! Mint is excellent with peas. The addition of celery is a terrific idea and I will make it soon!



I love it too:)  the 7 layer salad I remember had the pea & cheese salad ingredients in the upper layers, but not sure of the bottom layers except lettuce, cucumber, tomato,  I like broken walnut in mine also and I use vegan or egg less mayo for this dressing delightCool aea



the 7 layer salad I grew up with had loads of cheese, bacon, and mayo (with sugar added) in addition to peas, iceberg lettuce, red onion and celery. All the fatty things sure made it tasty at the time, but I don't think I'd find it so today since the old taste buds have changed.

Not sure whether I want to go with just less of those three or in another direction altogether. I do like the idea of walnuts...and tomatoes! Will have to search about and see what I can come up with...maybe cauliflower or broccoli?



Are sugar snap peas easy to grow? They are by far my favorite veggie to snack on, but so expensive at the grocery store. $2.50 for a 4 oz bag!

I'd love to grow them myself. Darn it, now you guys have me craving peas :)



They are a cool weather plant and really not all that hard, check out all the different varieties. If you live where I do they are a fall winter plant. For lots of people though, it's prime pea season!

LOL on your craving! :D



The peas are great, but unfortunately due to their price I can't afford them as often as I like



Frozen small peas are very sweet and are easy to rinse for salads, or rinse and saute to warm for a compliment to rice, or in hot side dishes.  They are a little less expensive than fresh and usually not filled with all the additives as canned (also firmer).  Hope this will help you.  aea



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