Simply taste one single farm-fresh pea from The Chef’s Garden and you’ll have no doubt about its incredible flavor—and they also pack a powerful nutritional punch with plenty of health benefits.
First, the flavor. As TheGuardian.com notes, “The first fresh peas . . . [are] a life-enhancing seasonal highlight of early summer. Their sweet, green juiciness, and opulently velvety texture when cooked, can brighten a dish immeasurably.”
Health Benefits of Peas
According to WebMD.com, the health benefits of peas include:
- Eye health: Nutrients in peas can protect your eyes from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- Digestive health: Coumestrol in this veggie helps to protect people against stomach cancer, with daily intake of peas able to lower the risk by 50%, according to one study.
- Immune health: Peas are antioxidant-rich, which is a real plus for your immune system. This in turn can help to lower the risk for heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.
- Blood sugar health: Pea protein and fiber can help your body to regulate how it digests starches and prevent spikes in blood sugar.
- Heart health: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help to prevent plaque from forming, with minerals found in peas able to help lower the risk of developing high blood pressure.
VeryWellFit.com notes that “Green peas are almost as American as apple pie” and shares how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends them for weight control. Eating peas can help you to feel full and satisfied, even when eating less, because of their low-calorie density.
How to Enjoy Peas
Some people enjoy snacking on English peas, raw. In fact, we know one family who uses them as their snack when they watch high school softball games. You can also nosh on them instead of popcorn while watching a movie.
“English peas are a fleeting product,” Chef Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute says. “So, it just makes sense to enjoy them to their fullest when they’re in season.”
He suggests simply blanching the peas in salt. “You can even add sugar to the blanch pot,” he says. “Then take them out as soon as the peas start to float, putting them into a seasoned ice bath. You can steam them, too—in essence poaching the pea.” Herbs that work well with peas include mint, lavender, parsley, thyme, and chervil.
English peas can then be incorporated into chilled salads or provide chunky goodness in sauces. You can add peas to a soup stock of onions, parsnips, and celery root, incorporating the peas when those ingredients are soft. You can even include the pods and then strain them out after all is blended together.
Peas are also excellent in desserts, from pea ice cream to tarts in fluted shells. In The Chef's Garden: A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables--with Recipes, you can see how to juice the pod of the English pea and use the delicious result in cocktails.
No matter how you like to eat your fresh English peas, enjoy! They are a true treat of the season.