The Cool Crop
Peas are a cool season, annual crop planted in rotation with other processing crops such as potatoes, sweet corn and snap beans. Peas are members of the legume family and as such, they provide a good source of protein.
Pods should be selected that are well-filled without bulging. Do not purchase flabby, spotted or yellow pods. Refrigerate and use within one week.
When you cook fresh peas, add a few washed pods to the water, this will improve the flavor and will give a better green color to the peas.
Better yet, when you cook the peas in their pods, as they cook the peas will separate from the pods and float to the surface.
When dried peas are placed in water the good ones will sink to the bottom and the bad ones will float to the top.
What are dry peas? Peas probably originated in northwest Asia. In Thailand, peas have been found in caves that are over 11,000 years old.
Dry peas are dried naturally by the late summer sun. They are most commonly split, which speeds cooking time. How are they split? During processing, peas are sorted. Then they are bombarded against a baffler, which causes them to split in two. Americans are most familiar with green peas, but yellow peas are also grown on the Palouse. They are most commonly consumed in Scandinavia and taste slightly different than green peas.
For every cup of dry peas, use two cups water. With split peas, there is no need to soak. Bring water to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the peas reach desired tenderness. One cup of dried peas will yield two cups of cooked peas.
In a cool, dry place, dry peas may be stored indefinitely.
After long storage of peas, the color may fade slightly, but the taste will not be noticeably altered. For whole peas, soak overnight and then cook for 35-40 minutes.
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