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How To Serve Delicious Peas
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Peas to Please
Petits pois!!! MMmmm... Yummy!!!
How to serve delicious peas.
If you serve up delicious peas, then your family and your guests will be impressed ~ and your kids will happily eat up their greens.
Frozen petits pois, served just right, will be everyone's favourite.
I love peas.
Yet I used to hate peas.
Have my taste-buds changed? ~ Probably, but not that much.
When I was a child, my Mum used to serve us canned marrowfat peas, because my late father loved them.
Unfortunately, I disliked these peas intensely.
I didn't like the taste and I loathed the texture ~ and those hard skins were horrible.
Sometimes we had canned garden peas, but they were not much better. They were still big and rough with 'hoods' for skins.
And, in those days, they were full of salt and artificial colourings, as well.
Occasionally, Mum would serve frozen peas, but, back then, frozen foods were not as commonplace as they are now. Many refrigerators (fridges) had a very small section for frozen foods, but this was not usually a 'deep freeze' facility. People didn't tend to own freezers and frozen food was expensive.
And, anyway, Dad loved those canned marrowfat peas!
So frozen peas were a rare treat ~ but a treat nonetheless.
I discovered that I could actually enjoy this little green leguminous vegetable.
The truth is, I already knew that I could enjoy peas.
My grandmother used to let me shell her fresh peas, if I was there, while she was preparing her mid-day meal. Not that enough peas ever reached the pan, if I was involved. I used to eat them raw from the pod ~ like peanuts. Yum! I wasn't so keen on them when cooked, though; I concluded that they were not that different, in flavour or texture, from tinned peas.
(As well as canned, frozen and fresh peas, there are also dried peas, which need to be soaked well, before cooking.)
Nowadays, almost everyone has a freezer, or fridge-freezer, and frozen peas are a regular dish on everyone's table.
But how to serve peas so that they are 'just right'?
As you may have guessed, by now, I would choose frozen peas every time.
I do realise that many people would go for fresh peas, direct from the pods, and, if they are the favourites in your home, then I would not try to dissuade you from eating fresh ~ but do be sure that they really are fresh. If you haven't picked them yourself, then you need to be sure that they have not been lying around on shelves, or in boxes, for any considerable length of time. Also, as I mentioned before, many fresh peas can still be large and have hard skins, so go for the small, sweet, tender ones.
And when shopping for frozen peas, still go for the small, sweet, tender ones. They are usually called 'petits pois' ~ even in English.
And be sure that they are as fresh as possible. Birds Eye guarantee to get their peas from field to frozen within two and and half hours 'to retain more vitamins'. They are my favourites!
Do obtain your frozen vegetables from somewhere reputable ~ and check the date on the pack. Frozen foods must never be re-frozen, after defrosting, so be sure to purchase your frozen produce from a reputable dealer, whom you can rely on to sell you good food that has been stored correctly. Check the date on the pack ~ I wouldn't purchase old stock; they may have been lying around who knows where.
Birds Eye Petits Pois - fresh from the fields
What sort of peas do you buy?
What sort of peas do you buy?
Recipes - Peas & Other Pulses
So, on to the cooking:
So, on to the cooking:
You may wish use your microwave. According to Birds Eye, microwaving, 'straight from the freezer', enables you to 'retain more vitamins'. Many people have very good results when cooking frozen peas in the microwave, but they can dry up, so, even though this is not always included in the cooking instructions, it is better to add a tablespoon of water to the container, before cooking. Them, after cooking, drain and serve while still hot. It will depend on your machine how long it will take, so you will need to read your instructions and experiment a little, before serving your micro waved peas to guests.
If I am cooking on the hob, I choose a stainless steel pan ~ either one with a matching lid, or one with a glass lid.
I put in enough water to cover the amount of peas I am using and I bring that to the boil. I do not add salt. Many people do, but most of us already have too much salt in our diet and this is not healthy. Furthermore, it alters the taste of the peas ~ and not for the better, in my opinion.
A little fresh mint may be added. This is a delicious herb, which goes really well with peas. It has a strong flavour, though, so, if you just want to taste the peas, and nothing else, leave it out. Experiment with mint ~ use it when the mood takes you ~ or serve mint sauce, as a condiment, with your meal.
One secret ingredient, when cooking delicious, oh-so-sweet, little baby peas is ... sugar!
I know; it's not that big a secret ~ some use it, some don’t ~ and a quarter, or half, teaspoon can make all the difference.
In these days of health-consciousness, and growing obesity, adding sugar to peas, may not seem like a good idea; I would only use a little unrefined Demerara sugar, and I would not serve this to diabetics. Petits pois are very sweet and delicious, anyway, though, so sugar may be superfluous.
Peas contain vitamins & minerals, fibre, protein and carbohydrate, but are relatively low in calories. Some of the vitamins will be lost during boiling, but, If you use the cooking water to make gravy, the vitamins will still be available. This is a good reason not to add salt or sugar during cooking.
Do not overcook. As most packaging will tell you, this will impair the flavour. However, you must ensure that the peas are fully cooked and 'piping hot'.
Take your serving of frozen peas directly from the freezer and plunge them into a pan of boiling water. The cold peas will lower the water's temperature, so you will need to bring the pan back to the boil and then simmer for about two minutes, according to your taste.
Peas can be served with almost anything.
I especially like them with fish.
They go well with rice and can be added to cold rice salads or to hot risottos, etc. I also add them to pasta dishes.
Although many people class peas as a vegetable, they are actually pulses ~ legumes ~ like green beans. Peas, like beans and pea nuts, are seeds and they are found in pods.
They can be sprouted ~ these sprouts can be eaten in salads are nutritious. Mange tout peas, as its French name indicates, can be eaten whole ~ pod and all.
Peas are, apparently, the most popular ‘vegetable’ in Britain. Certainly they are the most popular vegetable in our home!
To summarise, for my favourite peas;
I choose best quality tiny petits pois
I take a stainless steel pan
I boil just enough water to cover the peas.
I add a small amount of unrefined demerara sugar.
I may add a little mint.
I add the frozen baby petits pois, directly from the freezer, to the boiling water.
I bring back to the boil and simmer for two minutes.
I strain the peas a serve on a hot plate.
Frozen Better Than Fresh?
Vegetables and fruit are definitely good for you. They are full of vitamins, fibre and all sorts of nutrients.
But make sure that your 'fresh' food is really 'fresh'. If vegetables and fruit have been hanging around in / on a box, a lorry, a plane, a fridge, a shelf, etc, etc, then hey will be losing their much-needed nutrients.
Frozen food can be much healthier ~ provided the food was good quality produce to start with, was picked at the correct time, frozen promptly, kept at the right temperature and served properly, and, of course, that it's the kind of produce that is suitable for freezing.
As far as peas are concerned, for me, 'Birds Eye' freshly-frozen petits pois will win every time.
A couple of items from the British press:
'The Guardian' February 2009:
'the British Frozen Food Federation is calling it "the new ice age". In their view, frozen can be cheaper because there is less wastage ....... What was not mentioned was the hideous carbon cost of freezing food and then storing it'
'The Telegraph' March 2010:
'Produce which is frozen soon after being picked have more nutrients sealed in, scientists from the Institute of Food Research claimed. '
So frozen vegetables are good for us ~ but are they good for the environment? : (
Pease Pudding or Pease Porridge
- Pease Pottage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There is even an English village named Pease Pottage.
- Pease Porridge Hot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pease Porridge Hot ~ song / rhyme
Some Interesting Info on Peas:
Some interesting info:
An ancient popular British dish was pease pottage / porridge / pudding. It could be either mushy or able to be sliced and it was made from dried 'pease'.
There is even an English village named ‘Pease Pottage‘.
A Bit of History
It seems that wild peas were eaten very early in man's history and that cultivation of this crop occurred early.
Peas became a staple, which might keep hunger at bay even in times of dearth, beceause they were cheap, easy to grow and long-lasting when dried.
The 'Best Cooking Pulses' website has a page on the history of peas. The earliest date they give is 9750 BC. Apparently archaeologists have found evidence of pea consumption, at that date, on the "Spirit Cave" on the Burma - Thailand border.
For more details, see their site:
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Pease Pudding Rhyme
An old nursery rhyme goes thus:
Pease pudding hot, pease pudding cold,
Pease pudding in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.
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Etymology / History of Pease and Peas
The poem illustrates how the term for this ‘vegetable’ was once ‘pease’.
Though this word sounded plural, it was not; this noun could be used as both singular and collective ~ derived from the Latin pisum.
The old plural was ’peasen’, (compare: ox ~ oxen). Because 'pease' sounded plural, the term evolved so that ‘pea' became singular and ‘peas’ became plural.
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And, since we are going back in time, look here to find a 14th century recipe, involving milk, ginger and saffron, for new peas ~ to be served with fish:
Marrowfat & Mushy?
I like petits pois, as do all the family, but, I have to admit to enjoying ‘mushy peas’ occasionally. This is surprising, since ‘mushy peas’ are made from those same marrowfat peas that I used to detest.
Marrowfat peas are, in many ways, the opposite of petits pois. Petits pois are harvested when they are new and tiny and tender, while marrowfat peas are not harvested until they are mature dry old fat peas. By turning marrowfat peas into mushy peas, they seem to softer ~ and less likely to retain the hard skins or ‘hoods’.
In the UK, mushy peas are often served with one of the country's favourite meals ~ fish and chips. (Garden peas are usually offered as an alternative choice.)
Whether, like me, you like sweet little petits pois, or, like my late father, you like old fat marrowfat peas, you should find something to your taste within the range of peas that are available.
I was looking on the Internet for recipes with peas and found some for fish, chips and mushy peas ~ including a healthy one! (Links below.)
But why not do what I just did?
I put some frozen haddock onto a plate, covered it with frozen peas and popped it all into the microwave for a few minutes. The result was a delicious and nutritious satisfying light meal, which was healthy and low in calories. Some baby new potatoes (or Anya potatoes) might have been nice with it, to make it a more substantial meal.
Just look at this!
- Fish, chips and mushy peas
Yummy! Fish, chips and mushy peas Wikimedia Commons
- Fish, Chips, Mushy Peas &-The Soft Curve Of The Earth on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Take-away fish, chips & mushy peas from the chip shop 'Summer day out in Staithes, North Yorkshire. This picture is included in a book curated by Martin Parr.' www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/938408
Fish & Chips & Mushy Peas - Recipes
- Fish And Chips With Mushy Peas Recipe | Food | Channel4.com
Healthier fish, chips & mushy peas
- Fish n Chips n Peas
More Fish n Chips n Peas recipes
- Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas T-Shirt from RedMolotov.com
Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas T-Shirt.
- Fish and chips - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
'Fish and Chips' - Info from Wikipedia
Information about peas:
Sweet Peas, Vetches and Pea-Nuts
'Peas' to be enjoyed - but not eaten!
Sweet peas are very pretty and fragrant flowers.
Sweet peas are not edible ~ the seeds are toxic. They are delightful flowering plants ~ known for their beautiful colour and delicious scent ~ but, like edible peas, they are of the Leguminosae family. The Latin name is Lathyrus odoratus.
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Edible pea plants have their flowers, too, of course, and there are various other related flowers, including the vetches.
You could grow either, or both, in your own back yard or garden.