Peas come from Asia Minor, but have spread in the early days over much of Europe. The oldest archaeological finds are over ten thousand years old and come from Syria. Already 7000 BC Peas were also grown in Cyprus.
In Germany and Central Europe, peas were also among the first crops of the Bronze Age. Today they are grown worldwide, with India growing the most peas by far. Peas are most comfortable on loamy soil. As they mature very early in the year and have a positive impact on the soil, they are often cultivated in the same field before the rape and before the winter crop. There are about a hundred different pea varieties, which are considered as a crop. Generally, however, there are four different main varieties. Field pea, which is considered to be very coarse and very nutritious, is used as feed for cattle and poultry. Sweet peas are usually dried and processed as dried peas in the kitchen.
The most delicate marrow peas are greener and sweeter and are frozen or canned. Sugar peas can be eaten raw. When they come fresh on the market, the grains are not ripe and not yet fully developed. That's why they are especially cute. The shell is still very thin at this early stage and can therefore be eaten. Fresh, green young peas are considered as spring messengers and may not be missing together with asparagus in any Leipziger Allerlei. Peas are among the first foods in history that have also been preserved.
Peas were also eaten fresh from the 17th century, when new varieties could be eaten unripe. Until then, the pea had found its way into the kitchen only when dried. The famous "Erbssurst" (sausage) was already on the market in the 19th century and was the forerunner of all later bag soup.
Since dried peas are very high in protein, they have always been a very important food in times of crisis. After the Second World War, the Allies distributed dried peas to the population in order to avoid a famine.
In Schleswig-Holstein and Ostfriesland until today on Shrove Tuesday "gray peas" are eaten. The tradition dates back to the Thirty Years' War, when families were able to survive only a few sacks of gray peas during a major famine. Today, peas have lost their elemental importance. Peas are considered very healthy. They lower cholesterol, they are low in calories and rich in vitamins. Peas are considered to be an effective way to prevent constipation, because they stimulate digestion thanks to their fiber. They also lower the triglyceride levels.
These blood lipids have a major impact on the development of heart disease. Peas have a positive effect on the nerves and should even prevent cancer. Fresh peas contain chlorophyll. It is the phytonutrient responsible for the beautiful, green color. Chlorophyll captures carcinogenic substances in the body and ensures that the organism can not absorb them. However, this area of research is still very new and it is not yet clear how many peas are needed to achieve this effect.
|nutritional information||Quantity per 100 grams|
|Calories 81||Fat content 0.4 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||Sodium 5 mg|
|Potassium 244 mg||Carbohydrates 14 g|
|Protein 5 g||Fiber 5 g|
Peas are the most protein-rich legumes. The differences between fresh and dried peas are very large. Fresh peas contain no more than 7 percent protein, while dried peas have up to 20 percent. The reason: Fresh peas, which are also consumed raw or slightly steamed, are not yet fully mature.
Peas that are to be dried, however, are harvested in the ripe state. The riper the pea is, the higher the protein content. Peas also contain beta-carotene, which is so important to the eyes, and a B-vitamin complex of vitamins B1, B2 and B6, which has a positive effect on the nervous system. Peas are also rich in vitamin C and vitamin E.
Peas are rich in purines, which can trigger a gout attack. Therefore, gout patients may either eat no or only very limited peas. They can also increase the uric acid and are therefore taboo for kidney patients. Besides, pea fiber is not digested by a stomach.
Digestion takes place only in the large intestine with the help of intestinal bacteria. In this process, winds arise, the result is a feeling of fullness and flatulence. However, this effect is very individual; some people are more prone to bloating than others. Fresh peas are less likely to cause digestive problems than dried ones that have been cooked. Pea allergies are rare. However, affected people usually have very severe allergies, including asthma attacks.
Fresh peas are mainly available in spring, but today they are sometimes offered until late summer. The shell must shine fresh, must have no spots and must be closed all around. The flower bud must be green and must not have a yellowish color.
If all that is right, the peas are fresh. The seeds of the pea must then be rinsed out of the shell. For a recipe with 500 grams of peas, two kilos of peas are needed. Peas should be processed as soon as possible after purchase. They stay in a damp cloth in the fridge for up to three days. Dried peas can hold many years in a dry, cool cupboard and in a closed can.
In general today, a shelf life of three years is assumed. The soaking time is a few hours. The older the dried pea is, the longer it should be soaked. On the other hand, peeled peas do not need to be soaked at all and can be boiled down to soup immediately. The soaking of peas has the advantage that the soaking water can be tipped away and replaced. In this way unpleasant flatulence is avoided, as all substances that cause the bloating end up in the soaking water.
Fresh peas should only be cooked in boiling water for a few minutes. They taste like pasta best "al dente". Fresh peas can also be gently cooked in butter with a little sugar. They must not be missing in any classic Leipziger Allerlei and are added as the last vegetable ingredient in the stew, just before it is served. There are many recipes for dried peas. Typically, they are cooked with thyme sprigs and onions. With cumin and coriander they get an oriental touch and are easier to digest.