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maltatoday, Sunday, 22 May 2011 37 PeaPods are, botanically speak- ing, a fruit, however peas are con- sidered to be a vegetable in cook- ing. The fresh pea is a small, round green legume, which is grown in a pod and is generally harvested in the spring. They are one of the ancient cul- tivated vegetables grown for their nutritious green pods. It is not clear where peas originated. some pos- sibilities include the Himalayas, China, India, and europe. Now they are one of larger commercial crops grown all over the temperate and semi-tropical regions of the globe. along with broad beans, they formed an important part of the diet of most people in the Mid- dle east, North africa and europe during the Middle ages, although the were not cooked from fresh but were first dried and then cooked. In the time of elizabeth I (1533- 1603) who reigned from 1558, peas were imported from Holland and were considered a great delicacy be- cause they were so expensive. Later, during the 17th and 18th century, fresh peas became more popular, especially in england and France, so much so that the eating of fresh green peas was said to be "both a fashion and a madness". The popularity of green peas spread to North america and con- tinued to increase with the inven- tion of canning and freezing. These sweet and succulent vegetables are one of the most nutritious legumi- nous vegetable, rich in health bene- fiting phyto-nutrients, minerals, vi- tamins and anti-oxidants including vitamins K, C, a and the B complex - B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), folic acid and minerals including manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassi- um. Peas are also high in fibre (like their cousins in the legume family) but are more easily digested and non-gassy than other legumes. Just one serving of freshly frozen garden peas and petits pois con- tains as much vitamin C as two large apples, more fibre than a slice of wholemeal bread and more thia- mine than a pint of whole milk. Peas are relatively low in calories when compared with beans and cowpeas. 100g of green peas pro- vide only 81 calories, contain good amount of soluble and insoluble fi- bre, less than one gram of fat, more protein than a whole egg and no cholesterol. always keep fresh green peas in a refrigerator. Half of their sugar content will turn to starch within six hours if they are kept at room temperature. season cooked peas with fresh or dried mint, chopped fresh parsley, curry powder, pancetta or simply with a dash of lemon juice. add shelled green peas to green or pasta salads, curries, soups, stews and stir-fried dishes. Recipe of the week maltatoday, Sunday, 19 OctOber 2014 fine food of the week Peas in a pod food Mushy peas ingredients For the salted caramel • 2 tbsp olive oil • 1 bunch spring onions, • chopped 1 handful fresh mint, • chopped 500g frozen peas • butter • Salt and pepper • Method Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onions, mint and peas. cover and leave for a few mins to steam. Mash with a potato masher. you can use a food processor if you prefer your mushy peas to be very smooth. add the butter and season to taste. Just one serving of peas contains as much vitamin c as two large apples, more fibre than a slice of wholemeal bread and more thiamine than a pint of whole milk though peas are a spring vegetable, frozen peas work wonders for a number of recipes, particularly this british comfort food that works so well with fried fish

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