The Sweetest Pea

By Bambi Edlund / Photography By Bambi Edlund | February 15, 2015
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Sweet pea illustration by Bambi Edlund
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"How luscious lies the pea within the pod." — Emily Dickinson

The earliest archaeological records of peas date from the neolithic era, in what is now Syria, Turkey and Jordon.  They were in Egypt 4400 BC, and in India by 2250 BC.

Pea tendrils are also edible—use them for cooking and in salads.

In Norse mythology, Thor gave peas (delivered via dragons) to humans as punishment.  The intent was to foul the wells, but the dragons let a few peas land on the fertile ground, giving mortals a tasty new food.  To appease the angry Thor, peas were dedicated to him and eaten only on his day, Thursday.

Peas should be eaten as soon as possible after harvest.  If kept at room termperature after picking, up to 40% of the sugar is converted to starch within a few hours.  The process slows down when refrigerated, but they still should be eaten within 2 to 3 days.

Just ¾ cup of peas contains more protein than a whole egg or a tablespoon of peanut butter!

Peas were only consumed after drying until the young, tender peas were presented to Louis XIV in France in 1660. They became a much sought-after delicacy.  French aristocrat Mme de Sevigné wrote, in 1696, that fresh peas were "a fashion, a fury."

Peapods are botanically speaking, a fruit.

Gregor Mendel, the founder of modern genetics, discovered his groundbreaking genetic laws by studying pea plants.

I eat my peas with honey, I've done it all my life, It makes the peas taste funny, But it keeps them on the knife—Ogden Nash

Pea plants can self-pollinate.

Sow peas directly outside in the garden, 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost.  Be sure to give them something to climb, or they will fall over as the pods grow.

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