Peas, low-calorie legumes but first of all the protagonists together with Gregor Mendel of extraordinary scientific discoveries on the hybridization and transmission of genetic characteristics. However, we will limit ourselves to describing the characteristics of this food, taste and beneficial properties. And some recipes of which it is equally appreciated protagonist, also for the good nutritional intake and the therapeutic properties that boasts.
Like most legumes, i peas they were born and enjoyed by men since the Neolithic age, it is thought that they originated in India even if there is no unquestionable evidence and today they are grown in Asia and in the Mediterranean countries.
With the scientific name of Pisum sativum the pea plant belongs to the Leguminosae family, it is herbaceous, glabrous and annual, composed of a single stem, thin and fragile, sometimes 30 cm long, but also 3 meters long if desired. In fact they exist dwarf, climbing and semi-climbing peas with different characteristics but always composed and pinnate leaves. Even the flowers in addition to size, can make the difference between the various types: there are white ones, but also reds or purples. All collected in bunches, rather falling.
You can't always rely on fresh peas, they are found in the months of May and June, otherwise we have to be satisfied with frozen, dried or canned ones. Fresh are not the best in comfort, true, but they are the best in terms of health, they are tastier and more nutritious. But don't think about eating raw peas: they contain anti-digestive factors that only cooking destroys.
We find fresh in variable numbers enclosed in pods and differ in color, form and dimensions. The ones we eat are rounded, for example, but it should be looked at even if they are smooth or wrinkled: the composition of carbohydrates varies. THE smooth peas they consist mainly of starch, the wrinkled ones of soluble sugars and starch, moreover they are sweeter and more tender. Among the various cultivated species there are also those whose pod is eaten and the seeds remain in the embryonic stage.
Not much appreciated by the pragmatic or hasty types, i dried peas they are an alternative to fresh, they can be found all year round, but require a considerable soaking period before they can be cooked. This is the reason why either you don't eat them, or, since they are good, you choose the frozen version.
In fact, soaking apart, the latter then have the same cooking method. Not only that: the flavor does not change much, so you always end up - including myself - to throw yourself into frozen food. So too gods improvised peas are possible, in a short time and with a lot of taste.
Peas: nutritional values
Taste, yes, but also nourishment: a pound of fresh peas it contains up to 80% of water which is by no means low for a legume, but also 5.5% of vegetable protein, 6.3% of fiber, 6.5% of sugar, 0.6% of fat.
Among the various vitamins present, C stands out but, after the indispensable cooking, it gives way to B1 and B9. And then there is folic acid and minerals, including potassium (about 195 mg), magnesium, iron and calcium.
L'folic acid present, quoted a few lines ago, is indispensable for prevent cardiovascular diseases but also to avoid serious malformations of the fetus during its development. Also but not only for this reason, these legumes are considered excellent herbal remedies.
The contained fibers also contribute, useful for stimulating bowel movements and fighting constipation, then there are the diuretic, tonic and energetic properties.
If you prepare a broth with the pods, you get a liquid rich in mineral salts, eaten "normally" the peas, together with almost all of the legumes, contribute to lower the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. Among the few contraindications, that linked to purines that make this food to be avoided for hyperuricemics and gout sufferers.
Thanks to the high percentage of water present, abnormal for a legume, i peas are to be considered low-calorie for their category. In fact, they contain 52 kcal each hectogram. The lipids do not abound, they remain at 0.6%, confirming the fact that we can safely consider this food among those to be offered even to those on a diet.
Compared to other legumes, i peas contain more water but less protein . They are always vegetable proteins and we are around the 5.5% share. On line you can find the isolated proteins. In a jar, without aspartame. It is obviously a completely different taste and a different concept of eating, I don't even compare them, but it's good to know that they exist just in case. vegan
They could be useful in particular circumstances. In addition to pea protein isolate, for vegetarians and vegans, there are those of soy and rice in a food supplement with 100% vegetable proteins, at 44 euros. It is ideal for vegetarians and vegans who do not have one well balanced diet and they need to include a protein dose in their diet. They are also lactose free, I recommend that you consult your doctor before experimenting with this route.
Peas in the pan
Returning to the peas in normal size, "Nature", here is a simple recipe to enjoy them fully, as a side dish or even as a condiment for a plate of pasta, perhaps whole. It would be the best choice, the latter, given that the pea and cereal proteins they combine to provide us with everything we need regarding essential amino acids as well.
For 4 people we take 800 g of fresh or frozen peas, we will cook them with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 20 g of white onions. Put the chopped onions in a pan with the oil, add the peas and mix, then leave to cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. By adding a ladle of hot water, cooking continues with the lid on for half an hour, adding more hot water as it evaporates.
They are ready so i peas in a pan: 176 kcal per serving, with 11.1 g of protein, 13.3 g of carbohydrates, 8.7 g of fat. And 48% of the fiber we need in a full day.
From the pan to the wet, to get to know the many typical dishes of the Italian tradition that have peas as their main ingredient, prepared stewed, with imaginative variations from region to region. In fact, everywhere there is a simple and easy to make dish, very cheap and tasty. In general, you can choose the vegetarian recipe, or add pancetta which is a recurring ingredient alongside these legumes.
For 4 people you need 400 gr of fresh or frozen peas, half a white onion, half a carrot and half a leek. Then also 100 grams of tomato puree, as many of bacon (if you want it), 50 cl of white wine, extra virgin olive oil and 0.75 liters of vegetable broth. In a saucepan, the chopped smells are passed, with the oil and any bacon, left to fry there, blending with wine.
The broth is heated separately, blanching the peas then to drain and add to what was cooked in the pan. After adding the tomato puree to the peas and the herbs, it should be cooked for a few more minutes and then add the broth. Covering everything, it is left to cook over medium heat for about half an hour, then without haste it can be served at the table.
How to grow peas
Those who relax in the kitchen and those in the garden: here are some tips in this article on "How to grow peas”
Pea pods: properties and information
Seeing these grow precious legumes in our garden, or even buying them fresh, one will certainly ask oneself, in full anti-waste perspective, what can be done with the pods. Our article explains it "Pods of peas”.
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