The May Veggie of the Month is Peas!
To keep our diets and ourselves healthy, we need to eat a variety of protein foods including seafood, meat, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes. You might wonder – what does this have to do with peas? Well, legumes include kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, lentils and, you guessed it…peas! Peas are a part of the protein food group AND the vegetable group!
Peas are high in fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. They’re also super sources of folate, a B-vitamin that helps maintain energy and form red blood cells. Folate is especially important for babies, adolescents, and pregnant women!
Did you know?
- You can eat peas whether they’re cooked or raw.
- Peas often grow on a vine supported by a pole.
- Green peas are sometimes called sweet peas or English peas.
- Snow pea pods are thin and tender. They’re eaten when there are still only tiny traces of peas inside. This type of pea is usually associated with Asian cuisine.
- Sugar snap peas are eaten when the peas inside are nearly mature and the pods are tender and juicy, similar to snap beans.
Tips for pickin’ (and keepin’) peas
- When picking peas in the garden, choose firm and bright peas that have no sign of decay or wilting.
- Store peas in a perforated plastic bag for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Shell them just before using.
- Remove peas from the shell by pulling the string down the length of the pod and pushing out the peas with your thumb.
Five ways to pep up your meals with peas
- Snack it to me. Fresh raw peas are an easy on-the-go snack.
- Dish it out. Cooked peas are a great – and colorful! – addition to a hotdish.
- Presto, pesto! Toss some thawed frozen peas, mint, a few garlic cloves, black pepper, and grated parmesan cheese in the food processor. Add olive oil as you combine the ingredients and make an unexpected pesto to eat as a dip or spread.
- Go green. Add peas to any soup or stew to pump up the protein.
- Pasta pizzazz. Sprinkle some cooked peas into your favorite pasta dish.
Sources: Eat Well, Live Well Campaign, Pick It! Try It! Like It!, Fruits & Veggies More Matters, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, University of Minnesota Extension, & University of Maryland Extension