Pea
Overview
A pea is most commonly the small spherical seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

 or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Peapods are botanically a fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

 in cooking. The name is also used to describe other edible seeds from the Fabaceae
Fabaceae
The Fabaceae or Leguminosae, commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, is a large and economically important family of flowering plants. The group is the third largest land plant family, behind only the Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with 730 genera and over 19,400 species...

 such as the pigeon pea
Pigeon pea
The pigeon pea , also known as tropical green pea, toor dāl or arhar dāl , ತೊಗರಿ ಬೇಳೆ kadios , or Congo pea or gungo pea , pois Congo , gandul , gunga pea, or no-eye pea, [Cajanus...

 (Cajanus cajan), the cowpea
Cowpea
The Cowpea is one of several species of the widely cultivated genus Vigna. Four cultivated subspecies are recognised:*Vigna unguiculata subsp. cylindrica Catjang...

 (Vigna unguiculata), and the seeds from several species of Lathyrus
Lathyrus
Lathyrus is a genus of flowering plant species known as sweet peas and vetchlings. Lathyrus is in the legume family Fabaceae and contains approximately 160 species. They are native to temperate areas, with a breakdown of 52 species in Europe, 30 species in North America, 78 in Asia, 24 in...

.

P.
Encyclopedia
A pea is most commonly the small spherical seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

 or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Peapods are botanically a fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

 in cooking. The name is also used to describe other edible seeds from the Fabaceae
Fabaceae
The Fabaceae or Leguminosae, commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, is a large and economically important family of flowering plants. The group is the third largest land plant family, behind only the Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with 730 genera and over 19,400 species...

 such as the pigeon pea
Pigeon pea
The pigeon pea , also known as tropical green pea, toor dāl or arhar dāl , ತೊಗರಿ ಬೇಳೆ kadios , or Congo pea or gungo pea , pois Congo , gandul , gunga pea, or no-eye pea, [Cajanus...

 (Cajanus cajan), the cowpea
Cowpea
The Cowpea is one of several species of the widely cultivated genus Vigna. Four cultivated subspecies are recognised:*Vigna unguiculata subsp. cylindrica Catjang...

 (Vigna unguiculata), and the seeds from several species of Lathyrus
Lathyrus
Lathyrus is a genus of flowering plant species known as sweet peas and vetchlings. Lathyrus is in the legume family Fabaceae and contains approximately 160 species. They are native to temperate areas, with a breakdown of 52 species in Europe, 30 species in North America, 78 in Asia, 24 in...

.

P. sativum is an annual plant
Annual plant
An annual plant is a plant that usually germinates, flowers, and dies in a year or season. True annuals will only live longer than a year if they are prevented from setting seed...

, with a life cycle
Biological life cycle
A life cycle is a period involving all different generations of a species succeeding each other through means of reproduction, whether through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction...

 of one year. It is a cool season crop grown in many parts of the world; planting can take place from winter to early summer depending on location. The average pea weighs between 0.1 and 0.36 grams. The species is used as a vegetable, fresh, frozen or canned, and is also grown to produce dry peas like the split pea
Split pea
Split peas are the dried, peeled and split seeds of Pisum sativum. In north India, they are generally known as matar ki daal, sometimes used as a cheaper variation for the very popular chhole on stalls offering it. . They come in yellow and green varieties. The peas are round when harvested and dried...

. These varieties are typically called field peas.

The wild pea is restricted to the Mediterranean basin and the Near East. The earliest archaeological finds of peas come from Neolithic Syria, Turkey and Jordan. In Egypt, early finds date from ca. 4800–4400 BC in the Nile delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

 area, and from ca. 3800–3600 BC in Upper Egypt. The pea was also present in Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 in the 5th millennium BC. Farther east, the finds are younger. Peas were present in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 ca. 2000 BC, in Harappa
Harappa
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan, about west of Sahiwal. The site takes its name from a modern village located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station left from...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and in northwest India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 in 2250–1750 BC. In the second half of the 2nd millennium BC this pulse crop appears in the Gangetic basin and southern India.

Description

The pea is a most commonly green, occasionally purple or golden yellow, pod-shaped vegetable, widely grown as a cool season vegetable crop. The seeds may be planted as soon as the soil temperature reaches 10 °C (50 °F), with the plants growing best at temperatures of 13 to 18 °C (55.4 to 64.4 F). They do not thrive in the summer heat of warmer temperate and lowland tropical climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

s but do grow well in cooler high altitude tropical areas. Many cultivars reach maturity about 60 days after planting.
Peas have both low-growing and vining
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

 cultivars. The vining cultivars grow thin tendril
Tendril
In botany, a tendril is a specialized stem, leaf or petiole with a threadlike shape that is used by climbing plants for support, attachment and cellular invasion by parasitic plants, generally by twining around suitable hosts. They do not have a lamina or blade, but they can photosynthesize...

s from leaves that coil around any available support and can climb to be 1–2 m high. A traditional approach to supporting climbing peas is to thrust branches pruned from tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s or other woody plants upright into the soil, providing a lattice for the peas to climb. Branches used in this fashion are sometimes called pea brush. Metal fences, twine, or netting supported by a frame are used for the same purpose. In dense plantings, peas give each other some measure of mutual
Mutual
Mutual may refer to:*Mutual organization, where customers derive a right to profits and votes*Mutual information, the intersection of multiple information sets*Mutual insurance, where policyholders have certain "ownership" rights in the organization...

 support. Pea plants can self-pollinate.

Varieties

There are many varieties of garden pea. Some of the most common include the following:
  • Alaska, 55 days (smooth seeded)
  • Thomas Laxton/Laxton's Progress/Progress #9, 60-65 days
  • Mr. Big, 60 days, 2000 AAS
    All-America Selections
    The mission of All-America Selections is “to promote new garden seed varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America.” To accomplish this, the All-America Selections organization oversees a collaborative testing program involving horticulture professionals...

     winner
  • Little Marvel, 63 days, 1934 AAS
    All-America Selections
    The mission of All-America Selections is “to promote new garden seed varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America.” To accomplish this, the All-America Selections organization oversees a collaborative testing program involving horticulture professionals...

     winner
  • Early Perfection, 65 days (This variety is the foundation of many improved varieties and crosses, including Dark-Seeded Early Perfection and Bolero, the latter being one of the most successful commercial varieties.)
  • Kelvedon Wonder, 65 days, 1997 RHS AGM
    Award of Garden Merit
    The Award of Garden Merit, or AGM, is an award made to garden plants by the British Royal Horticultural Society after a period of assessment by the appropriate committees of the Society...

     winner
  • Homesteader/Lincoln, 67 days (heirloom
    Heirloom plant
    An heirloom plant, heirloom variety, or heirloom vegetable is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture...

    , known as Greenfeast in AU
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

    , NZ
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

    )
  • Wando, 68 days
  • Green Arrow, 70 days
  • Tall Telephone/Alderman, 75 days (heirloom, tall climber)


Other variations of P. sativum include:
  • Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon is commonly known as the snow pea
    Snow pea
    The snow pea is a legume, more specifically a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe...

  • Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon ser. cv. is known as the sugar or snap pea
    Snap pea
    Snap peas , also known as sugarsnap peas, are a cultivar group of edible-podded peas that differ from snow peas in that their pods are round as opposed to flat. The name mangetout can apply both to snap peas and snow peas.Snap peas, like all other peas, are pod fruits...



Both of these are eaten whole before the pod reaches maturity and are hence also known as mange-tout, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 for "eat all". The snow pea pod is eaten flat, while in sugar/snap peas, the pod becomes cylindrical but is eaten while still crisp, before the seeds inside develop.

Pests and diseases

The pea leaf weevil (Latin: Sitona lineatus) is an insect that damages peas and other pod fruits. It is native to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, but has spread to other places such as Alberta, Canada. They are about 3.5 millimetre (0.137795275590551 in)—5.5 millimetre (0.216535433070866 in) long and are distinguishable by three light-coloured stripes running length-wise down the thorax
Thorax
The thorax is a division of an animal's body that lies between the head and the abdomen.-In tetrapods:...

. The weevil larva
Larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

e feed on the root nodule
Root nodule
Root nodules occur on the roots of plants that associate with symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Under nitrogen-limiting conditions, capable plants form a symbiotic relationship with a host-specific strain of bacteria known as rhizobia...

s of pea plants, which are essential to the plant's supply of nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

, and thus diminish leaf and stem growth. Adult weevils feed on the leaves and create a notched "c-shaped" appearance on the outside of the leaves.

Culinary use

In early times, peas were grown mostly for their dry seeds. In modern times, however, peas are usually boiled or steamed, which breaks down the cell walls and makes the taste sweeter and the nutrients more bio-available. Along with broad beans and lentils, these formed an important part of the diet of most people in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. By the 17th and 18th centuries it had become popular to eat peas "green", that is, while they are immature and right after they are picked. This was especially true in France and England, where the eating of green peas was said to be "both a fashion and a madness". New cultivars of peas were developed by the English during this time which became known as garden peas and English peas. The popularity of green peas spread to North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 grew more than 30 cultivars of peas on his estate. With the invention of canning and freezing of foods, green peas became available year-round, and not just in the spring as before.

Fresh peas are often eaten boiled and flavored with butter
Butter
Butter is a dairy product made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. It is generally used as a spread and a condiment, as well as in cooking applications, such as baking, sauce making, and pan frying...

 and/or spearmint
Spearmint
Mentha spicata syn. M. cordifolia is a species of mint native to much of Europe and southwest Asia, though its exact natural range is uncertain due to extensive early cultivation. It grows in wet soils...

 as a side dish vegetable. Salt and pepper are also commonly added to peas when served. Fresh peas are also used in pot pies, salads and casseroles. Pod peas (particularly sweet cultivars called mange tout and sugar peas, or the flatter "snow peas," called hé lán dòu, 荷兰豆 in Chinese) are used in stir-fried dishes, particularly those in American Chinese cuisine
American Chinese cuisine
American Chinese cuisine refers to the style of food served by many Chinese restaurants in the United States. This type of cooking typically caters to Western tastes, and differs significantly from the original Chinese cuisine.-History:...

. Pea pods do not keep well once picked, and if not used quickly are best preserved by drying, canning
Canning
Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a typical shelf life ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances a freeze-dried canned product, such as canned, dried lentils, can last as...

 or freezing
Freezing
Freezing or solidification is a phase change in which a liquid turns into a solid when its temperature is lowered below its freezing point. The reverse process is melting....

 within a few hours of harvest.

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, fresh peas are used in various dishes such as aloo matar (curried potatoes with peas) or matar paneer (paneer
Paneer
Paneer is a fresh cheese common in South Asian cuisine. It is of Indian origin. In eastern parts of India, it is generally called Chhena...

 cheese with peas), though they can be substituted with frozen peas as well. Peas are also eaten raw, as they are sweet when fresh off the bush. Split peas are also used to make dhal, particularly in Guyana
Guyana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

, and Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

, where there is a significant population of Indians.

Dried peas are often made into a soup
Soup
Soup is a generally warm food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables with stock, juice, water, or another liquid. Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavors are extracted, forming a broth.Traditionally,...

 or simply eaten on their own. In Japan, China, Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 and some Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

  and Malaysia, peas are roasted and salted, and eaten as snack
Snack
A snack is a small portion of food eaten between meals. The food might be snack food—items like potato chips or baby carrots—but could also simply be a smaller amount of any food item.-Snacks and health:...

s. In the UK, dried yellow split peas are used to make pease pudding
Pease pudding
Pease pudding, sometimes known as pease pottage or pease porridge, is a boiled vegetable product, which mainly consists of split yellow or Carlin peas, water, salt, and spices, often cooked with a bacon or ham joint...

 (or "pease porridge"), a traditional dish. In North America, a similarly traditional dish is split pea soup
Pea soup
Pea soup or split pea soup is soup made, typically, from dried peas. It is, with variations, a part of the cuisine of many cultures. It is greyish-green or yellow in color depending on the regional variety of peas used; all are cultivars of Pisum sativum.Pea soup has been eaten since antiquity; it...

.

Pea soup
Pea soup
Pea soup or split pea soup is soup made, typically, from dried peas. It is, with variations, a part of the cuisine of many cultures. It is greyish-green or yellow in color depending on the regional variety of peas used; all are cultivars of Pisum sativum.Pea soup has been eaten since antiquity; it...

is eaten in many other parts of the world, including northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

, parts of middle Europe, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and India. In Sweden it is called ärtsoppa, and is eaten as a traditional Swedish food
Cuisine of Sweden
Due to Sweden's large north-south expanse there have always been regional differences in Swedish cuisine. Historically, in the far North, meats such as reindeer, and other game dishes were eaten, some of which have their roots in the Sami culture, while fresh vegetables have played a larger role...

 which predates the Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 era. This food was made from a fast-growing pea that would mature in a short growing season. Ärtsoppa was especially popular among the many poor who traditionally only had one pot and everything was cooked together for a dinner using a tripod to hold the pot over the fire.

In Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

, pea sprouts (豆苗; dòu miáo) are commonly used in stir-fries. Pea leaves are often considered a delicacy as well.

In Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, and other parts of the Mediterranean, peas are made into a stew with meat and potatoes.

In Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, pea soup is often served with dumpling
Dumpling
Dumplings are cooked balls of dough. They are based on flour, potatoes or bread, and may include meat, fish, vegetables, or sweets. They may be cooked by boiling, steaming, simmering, frying, or baking. They may have a filling, or there may be other ingredients mixed into the dough. Dumplings may...

s and spiced with hot paprika
Paprika
Paprika is a spice made from the grinding of dried fruits of Capsicum annuum . In many European languages, the word paprika refers to bell peppers themselves. The seasoning is used in many cuisines to add color and flavor to dishes. Paprika can range from mild to hot...

.
In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, dried, rehydrated and mashed marrowfat peas
Marrowfat peas
Marrowfat peas are green mature peas that have been allowed to dry out naturally in the field, rather than be harvested in their prime of youth like the normal garden pea. They are used to make mushy peas and also the snack food wasabi peas....

, known by the public as mushy peas
Mushy peas
Mushy peas are dried marrowfat peas which are first soaked overnight in water and then simmered with a little sugar and salt until they form a thick green lumpy soup. They are a traditional British accompaniment to fish and chips and sometimes mint is used as a flavouring...

, are popular, originally in the north of England but now ubiquitously, and especially as an accompaniment to fish and chips
Fish and chips
Fish and chips is a popular take-away food in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada...

 or meat pie
Meat pie
A meat pie is a savoury pie with a filling of meat and other savoury ingredients. Principally popular in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, meat pies differ from a pasty in the sense that a pasty is typically a more portable, on-the-go item, as opposed to a more conventional pie.-History:The...

s, particularly in fish and chip shops. Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula Na HCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda . The natural mineral form is...

 is sometimes added to soften the peas. In 2005, a poll of 2,000 people revealed the pea to be Britain's 7th favorite culinary vegetable.

Processed peas are mature peas which have been dried, soaked and then heat treated (processed) to prevent spoilage—in the same manner as pasteurising.
Cooked peas are sometimes sold dried and coated with wasabi
Wasabi
, also known as Japanese horseradish, is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbages, horseradish, and mustard. Its root is used as a condiment and has an extremely strong flavor. Its hotness is more akin to that of a hot mustard rather than the capsaicin in a chili pepper,...

, salt
Salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

, or other spices.

Nutritional value

Peas are high in fiber
Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber, dietary fibre, or sometimes roughage is the indigestible portion of plant foods having two main components:* soluble fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and* insoluble fiber that is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it...

, protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

, vitamin
Vitamin
A vitamin is an organic compound required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by an organism. In other words, an organic chemical compound is called a vitamin when it cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism, and must be obtained from the diet. Thus, the term is conditional both on...

s, mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s, and lutein
Lutein
Lutein is a xanthophyll and one of 600 known naturally occurring carotenoids. Lutein is synthesized only by plants and like other xanthophylls is found in high quantities in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale...

. Dry weight is about one-quarter protein and one-quarter sugar. Pea seed peptide fractions have less ability to scavenge free radicals than glutathione
Glutathione
Glutathione is a tripeptide that contains an unusual peptide linkage between the amine group of cysteine and the carboxyl group of the glutamate side-chain...

, but greater ability to chelate
Chelation
Chelation is the formation or presence of two or more separate coordinate bonds between apolydentate ligand and a single central atom....

 metals and inhibit linoleic acid
Linoleic acid
Linoleic acid is an unsaturated n-6 fatty acid. It is a colorless liquid at room temperature. In physiological literature, it has a lipid number of 18:2...

 oxidation.

1cup of raw green peas (145g) contains:
  • Calories :117
  • Fat(g): 0.58
  • Carbohydrates(g): 20.95
  • Fibers(g): 7.4
  • Protein(g): 7.86

Peas in science

In the mid-19th century, Austrian scientist Gregor Mendel
Gregor Mendel
Gregor Johann Mendel was an Austrian scientist and Augustinian friar who gained posthumous fame as the founder of the new science of genetics. Mendel demonstrated that the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants follows particular patterns, now referred to as the laws of Mendelian inheritance...

's observations of pea pods led to the principles of Mendelian genetics, the foundation of modern genetics
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

.

Etymology


According to etymologists
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

, the term pea was taken from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 pisum, which is the latinisation
Latinisation (literature)
Latinisation is the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style. It is commonly met with for historical personal names, with toponyms, or for the standard binomial nomenclature of the life sciences. It goes further than Romanisation, which is the writing of a word in the Latin alphabet...

 of the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 πίσον (pison), neut. of πίσος (pisos), "pea". It was adopted into English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 as the noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

 pease (plural peasen), as in pease pudding
Pease pudding
Pease pudding, sometimes known as pease pottage or pease porridge, is a boiled vegetable product, which mainly consists of split yellow or Carlin peas, water, salt, and spices, often cooked with a bacon or ham joint...

. However, by analogy with other plurals ending in -s, speakers began construing pease as a plural
Plural
In linguistics, plurality or [a] plural is a concept of quantity representing a value of more-than-one. Typically applied to nouns, a plural word or marker is used to distinguish a value other than the default quantity of a noun, which is typically one...

 and constructing the singular form by dropping the "s", giving the term "pea". This process is known as back-formation
Back-formation
In etymology, back-formation is the process of creating a new lexeme, usually by removing actual or supposed affixes. The resulting neologism is called a back-formation, a term coined by James Murray in 1889...

.

The name marrowfat pea for mature dried peas is recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

as early as 1733. The fact that an export cultivar popular in Japan is called Maro has led some people to assume mistakenly that the English name marrowfat is derived from Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

.

See also

  • Bean
    Bean
    Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

  • Black pea
  • Black-eyed pea
    Black-eyed pea
    The black-eyed pea, also called black-eyed bean and chawalie or lobia in various languages in India and Pakistan, is a subspecies of the cowpea, grown around the world for its medium-sized, edible bean. The bean mutates easily, giving rise to a number of varieties. The common commercial one is...

  • Dixie lee pea
    Dixie lee pea
    The Dixie Lee Pea is a subspecies of the cowpea, grown around the world for its medium-sized, edible bean. The pod is green in color. When cooked, the beans are brown in color.-See also:* Bean* Black pea* Black-eyed pea* Mushy peas* Snap pea* Snow pea...

  • Mushy peas
    Mushy peas
    Mushy peas are dried marrowfat peas which are first soaked overnight in water and then simmered with a little sugar and salt until they form a thick green lumpy soup. They are a traditional British accompaniment to fish and chips and sometimes mint is used as a flavouring...

  • Snap pea
    Snap pea
    Snap peas , also known as sugarsnap peas, are a cultivar group of edible-podded peas that differ from snow peas in that their pods are round as opposed to flat. The name mangetout can apply both to snap peas and snow peas.Snap peas, like all other peas, are pod fruits...

  • Snow pea
    Snow pea
    The snow pea is a legume, more specifically a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe...

  • Split pea
    Split pea
    Split peas are the dried, peeled and split seeds of Pisum sativum. In north India, they are generally known as matar ki daal, sometimes used as a cheaper variation for the very popular chhole on stalls offering it. . They come in yellow and green varieties. The peas are round when harvested and dried...

  • Sweet pea
    Sweet pea
    Sweet pea is a flowering plant in the genus Lathyrus in the family Fabaceae , native to the eastern Mediterranean region from Sicily east to Crete....

  • Yellow pea

External links

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