What’s so good about peas?
Green peas are a great source of bone-building vitamin K and manganese. They will also boost levels of folate, a micronutrient that is essential for heart health and foetal development. Peas are also high in vitamin C, which protects your immune system, and high in protein compared to other vegetables, so they keep you fuller for longer.
Although pod-fresh peas have an amazing flavour, even frozen peas retain all their nutrients, hence their essential position in anyone’s freezer. If you buy not-so-fresh peas in the pod, their natural sugars have converted to starch, so you lose that delicious flavour. If you have the space, they’re a great vegetable to grow in the garden and are very simple to grow from seed. Even the curly pea shoots are edible and delicious added to a salad. Young pods can be eaten, too, and taste a little like mangetout.
Pea protein is very on trend at the moment. It’s available in health food shops and is a very good protein source for vegans and vegetarians (though, for the record, it is extracted from the yellow pea rather than the green).
Peas aren’t a vegetable but a legume – which means anything that is grown in a pod – so they belong to the same family as runner beans, green beans and peanuts (yep, peanuts aren’t really a nut either).