How to Cook and Prepare Peas

These fast growing, sweet little thing called peas could do some wonders in your health. Aside from being tasty, they also possess a number of health benefits that make them ideal for your diet. However, some people see them as something that’s not important nor special. They’re usually served at cheap restaurants, and that’s it. Truth be told though, the several health benefits that you could get from peas make them totally stand out.

Selection and Storage

Selection

For starters, green peas are usually in season during winter, from December until April.

  1. When shopping for peas, it’s advisable to choose fresh and firm pods. The pods must be full, and packed with peas.
  2. Fresh peas usually have smooth skin that are also velvety.
  3. As much as possible, avoid wrinkled, yellow colored, or over matured pods.
  4. The peas shouldn’t be puffy and water soak. Any mildew residue shouldn’t be present as well.
  5. Make sure that each pod is filled with the appropriate size and number of peas.
  6. Smaller peas are usually sweeter compared to larger peas.
  7. You can check if the peas are good by snapping one open– you’ll be able to determine whether it’s good or not.

Storage

  1. If you’re planning to store them, it’s ideal to keep them in the vegetable crisper of the fridge. They could last for 2-3 days.
  2. Refrigerating peas prevents the sugar content to be converted into starch.
  3. Unwashed peas should be put in a plastic bag or an airtight container before storing them in a fridge.
  4. You could blanch fresh peas for about 1-2 minutes, then freeze them. Frozen peas usually last for 6-12 months.

Preparation

If the peas are fresh, the initial step would be to remove them from the pea pods first.

  1. Hold the pea pod between your index finger and thumb, with the seam of the pod facing upward.
  2. Pop the pea pod with your fingers until it gradually opens.
  3. Using your index finger, take the peas out and place them in a bowl.

Note: Canned peas are best cooked in the liquid they were packed in.

  • Just add the entire contents of the can in a small saucepan and heat them until it gets warm.
  • You could also heat the contents in a microwave for about 2 minutes on high.

Different Ways to Prepare Peas

Cooked peas are a perfect source of iron, calcium, and they are fat-free. Cooking peas is not rocket science. In fact, the key to a perfect cooked peas require minimal cooking. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to blanch, roast, or steam them. There are several ways on how you can cook your peas, resulting in a sumptuous dishes that are good for your health but are far from being mushy. Just make sure to cook your peas properly, as much as possible, not long enough. This will prevent them from getting mushy. Here are some ways on how you can cook your peas.

Steamed

Steaming peas is a great way to retain its flavor and nutrients.

  1. For your liquid, mix water and white wine. You could also add some basil or some fresh rosemary for subtle flavor.
  2. Place your fresh peas, or your frozen peas on your steamer basket.
  3. Once they turn tender, but still bright green – that means your peas are done.
  4. Season with salt and chopped herbs if desired.
  5. Serve hot.

Stir-Fried

As a rule of thumb, before adding the peas, you must wait until all the ingredients are almost cooked.

Tips:

  1. For a plain stir fry of rice, seasoning it with a low-sodium soy sauce would allow the flavor of peas to shine.
  2. For an instant stir-fry, just toss the cooked angel hair pasta or rice noodles in a wok drizzled with olive oil, chopped tomatoes, sauteed zucchini, and peas. Season it fresh herbs and spices.
  3. Sauteed shrimp with peas could be a yummy topping over a warm salad and pasta.

Soups

Tips:

  1. To prevent the peas from becoming mushy, add them at least 5 minutes before you’re going to serve the dish.
  2. You could use fresh peas in a stew with mixed vegetables and beans or in oriental beef stew.
  3. Peas add texture and color to a low-fat turkey chili.
  4. You could puree your peas, sauteed leeks, chicken broth, and fresh mint in food processor for a savory and creamy soup.

Microwaved

  1. Place your peas in a microwave safe bowl and add a tbsp of water.
  2. Cover the bowl and microwave for 1 minute (on high).
  3. Stir and continue heating, with 1 minute intervals until it’s cooked.

Boiled

  1. The amount of water will depend on the number of peas you’re going to boil.
  2. Set the stove on high and let the water boil.
  3. Quickly add the peas and turn the heat down to medium-high.
  4. For fresh peas, let it cook for 2 minutes. For frozen peas, 3 minutes.

Additional Tips:

  • If you’re not going to serve your peas right away, it’s ideal to plunge the cooked peas in an ice bath first after draining. This will retain the bright green color of the peas. Just reheat them after.
  • As much as possible, be careful not to overcook your peas. Overcooked peas will lose its bright green flavor as well as the flavor.

Health Benefits

  1. Weight Loss – Peas are a low-calorie and a low-fat food type. Furthermore, green peas are also versatile, and it’ll help you manage your weight effectively. They’re very low in calories unlike beans and cow peas.
  2. Fights Stomach Cancer – These tiny balls could help the body fight against deadly diseases, such as stomach cancer. The coumestrol found in peas could eradicate cancer.
  3. Strengthens The Immune System – The antioxidant present in peas could prevent the development of serious diseases. Likewise, peas are also rich in minerals, such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese.
  4. Anti-aging – Peas contain catechin, flavonoids, carotenoids, alpha carotene, and epicatechin. These antioxidants are helpful in slowing down the process of aging, giving younger looking skin.
  5. Prevents Wrinkles and Osteoporosis – The anti-inflammatory properties found in peas, together with the antioxidants, could prevent the formation of wrinkles and the development of osteoporosis.
  6. Prevents The Risks of Alzheimer’s and Arthritis – Peas could prevent the risks of serious diseases, such Arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. As a matter of fact, a regular consumption of these could prevent brain damage of those patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.
  7. Regulates The Blood Sugar – The protein found in peas could regulation the blood sugar levels.
  8. Good For Pregnant Women – Due to the fact that peas contains high amounts of folic acid, they could help expectant mothers prevent newborn deficiencies.
  9. Better Digestion – Peas have high dietary content fiber, making them the perfect aid for digestion. Aside from that, the fiber found in peas could also improve the overall health of the body as it improves digestion.
  10. Better Eyesight – Peas have an adequate amount of antioxidant flavonoids, such as carotenes, lutein, zea-xanthin, and vitamin A. If you’re not aware, it’s one of the most important nutrients needed in order to maintain a healthy skin and eyesight.
  11. Fights Inflammation – Peas contain several nutrients that could effectively counter inflammation. These are: Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and folate.
  12. Soothes Burns – Fresh green peas could serve as a remedy for burns, because if has a soothing effect.
  13. Prevents Hair Loss – Peas are rich in vitamin C, an important nutrient that’s needed for collagen formation, which enables maximum hair growth.

Great Peas Recipes

Asian Shrimp Stir Fry with Snow Peas

Asian-Shrimp-Stir-Fry-with-Snow-Peas

Chicken Breast with Homemade Croutons and Peas

Chicken-Breast-with-Homemade-Croutons-and-Peas

Garlic Sesame Snow Peas

Garlic-Sesame-Snow-Peas

Pesto Pasta with Chicken & Veggies

Pesto-Pasta-with-Chicken-Veggies

Sugar Snap Peas Shrimp and Quinoa Stir Fry

Sugar-Snap-Peas-Shrimp-and-Quinoa-Stir-Fry