Mar 29, 2019
One of my Spring time favorites is peas. I'm always excited to watch climb up the trellis in the garden. I also love finding them at the farmers' market to snack on through out the day. They are great raw but there are a variety of ways to enjoy them cooked as well. Peas are native to Western Asia and North Africa. According to Washington State University Extension, archaeologist have unearthed peas in ancient tombs and discovered old literature and drawings that describe peas. The Chinese think Emperor, Shu Nung, discovered pea plants about 5,000 years ago. He was characterized as the "Chinese Father of Agriculture". Nung explored the country looking for edibles to sustain the populace and plant that might be used for medicinal purposes. Physical evidence of peas was found in Egyptian tombs of the 12th dynasty. Wild peas can still be found in Afghanistan, Iran and Ethiopia. They were first cultivated 10,000 years ago in the Middle East. Approximately 4,000 years ago, pea cultivation had spread throughout Europe and traveled east into India.
Peas were grown in early times mostly for their dry seeds. Along with other beans as well as lentils, these formed an important part of the diet for most people in Europe during the Middle Ages. It wasn't until the 1600s that it became popular to eat peas "green" or immature and right after they are picked. France and England led the way in eating green peas. New varieties of peas were developed by the English during this time, this is where the "English peas" came from.
Peas are a good source of fiber, folic acid, Vitamin A, C and K and iron making peas a great source for good nutrition. When dried they retain their nutrients. Peas can also be frozen to be used long after the harvest. Peas are planted in early Spring when the soil can be worked. They need a trellis to climb up much like beans and other legumes. Peas offer help to the soil adding nitrogen when turned in after the harvest. That's just one of the reasons you will find local farmers like to grow peas. You'll find peas making their appearance very soon a farmers' market near you.
Smashed Pea Toast
2 cups of fresh peas, blanched
1/2 cup feta cheese, chopped
3 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Rustic bread toasted
1 Egg, fried
1.Combine the peas, feta cheese, mint leaves, olive oil and salt and pepper. Lightly smash in a bowl, then transfer to a blender or food processor. Blend in a food processor until coarsely combined.
2.Add pea smash to piece of toast and top with a fried egg.
Note: you can replace mint with thyme and lemon zest and add lemon juice to the peas for a different variation.
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