Name: The scientific name Pissum sativum refers to the pod that holds the pea, which is actually a seed.
Origins: Peas were a staple in medieval cuisine, mainly used to make pea soup. The earliest known uses of peas were discovered in Syria, Turkey, and Jordan. More modern, green “garden” peas were found cultivated in Europe in the early 17th century.
Peak Season: April – June
Nutritional Value: Peas are high in vitamins A, C, and K; as well as folates, minerals, and lutein.
Prep: Peas are best steamed or boiled; when cooked their natural sweet flavor is brought out. Often peas are pureed into soup. Although frozen peas are available year round, fresh peas are exceptionally sweet. Fresh peas should be eaten as soon as possible after harvest because the high sugar content quickly turns starchy. Store in a bag in the refrigerator and use within 2 days of purchase. Shell peas immediately before they are cooked.
Recipe: Spring Pea Risotto
For more Back to Basics recipes, click here.