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Facts & figures
10 good reasons peas please!
- Freshly frozen garden peas and petits pois are frozen within just two and a half-hours of being picked. This locks in all the nutrients, which can be lost at room temperature.
- Freshly frozen garden peas and petits pois are so convenient - taking just three minutes to cook.
- Just one serving of freshly frozen garden peas and petits pois 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.
- Peas are just about the most versatile vegetable in the world. They taste great in risotto, kedgeree, omelettes, pizzas, pastas, soups, salads, casseroles and curries.
- The speedy freezing process preserves the sweet and succulent taste that can otherwise be rapidly lost.
- No matter the season, freshly frozen garden peas are available throughout the year.
- The freezing process preserves the lustrous pea green colour that adds vibrancy to so many dishes.
- Being freshly frozen, there's absolutely no preparation needed. Just add to your recipe or pop them straightinto soups, casseroles or curries.
- There's no wastage. Garden peas or petits pois chosen for freezing are the pick of the bunch. There are no duds.
- There's nothing added to freshly frozen garden peas: no salt, sugar or water and certainly no other preservatives or additives. Just Mother Nature's own way of preservation - freezing.
A year of soups
This featured months' soup recipe is Green Pea Soup with Pancetta Cream and Soda Bread. Just perfect for cooler autumn months.
Peas are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, thiamine (B1), iron and phosphorus. As pulses, they are rich in protein, carbohydrate and fibre and low in fat which is mostly of the unsaturated kind. Half a cup of frozen peas has only 5% of the daily value for sodium. Foods low in sodium are good for your heart. An 85 gram serving of peas, cooked, provides 50 calories, 4 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbohydrate (of which 3.5 grams are sugars), 3.8 grams of fibre, 17mg of vitamin C (28% of the recommended daily allowance) and 0.2mg Thiamine (B1) (15% of the recommended daily allowance).
The less water you use when cooking peas, the less vitamin C is lost. Steaming helps to conserve this vitamin. When boiling frozen peas, add enough water to cover, bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for 3 minutes. To microwave 227 grams (8oz) of frozen peas add 15ml (1 tablespoon) of water, place in non metallic container and cover. Cook on full power for 4 minutes (750W) or 4 1/2 minutes (650W).
Did you know? Facts & figures about peas…
- The Latin name for peas is pisum sativum.
- If you threaded every frozen pea produced each year in the UK onto a piece of string you would need 3,900,000 kms of string, which would stretch from the earth to the moon and back more than five times!
- The first peas were frozen by Clarence Birdseye who invented the 'plate froster' to preserve foods in the 1920's.
- On average everyone in Britain eats nearly 9,000 peas per year.
- The world record for eating peas is held by Janet Harris of Sussex who, in 1984, ate 7175 peas one by one in 60 minutes using chopsticks!
- It would take 390,096,154 average diameter peas to outline the British coast.
- In 1969 the Birds Eye frozen pea commercial was the first TV ad to be broadcast in colour.
- The UK has a pea etiquette. Much of the population spear or shovel them. The proper way to eat them is to squash them on the back of the fork.
- Thick London fogs of the 19th and 20th centuries were dubbed 'pea-soupers' because of their density and green tinge.
- There are 35,000 hectares of peas grown in the UK each year, equivalent to about 70,000 football pitches. This produces about 160,000 tonnes of frozen peas - that's 2 billion 80 gram portions.
- The UK is the largest producer of peas for freezing in Europe. We have a unique East facing seaboard which is ideally suited to pea production.
- Some famous showbiz celebrities have advertised peas, Patsy Kensit, Lesley Ash and Julie Peasgood!
- Pea fans include trendy chef Jamie Oliver and former Oasis lead singer Liam Gallagher. (Liam Gallagher's favourite recipe is spicy pea and ham soup).
History Fun historical facts…
- Peas are thought to have originated in Middle Asia and the central plateau of Ethiopia.
- "The Perfumed Garden", a 16th Century treatise on the art of love, says that peas boiled with onion and spiced with cinnamon is an effective aphrodisiac.
- In the time of Elizabeth I (1533-1603) who reigned from 1558, peas were imported from Holland and were considered a great delicacy because they were so expensive.
- Fresh peas became popular in the 18th centruary when improved varieties were developed by English plant breeders. The world's first sweet tasting pea was developed in the 18th century by amateur plant breeder Thomas Edward Knight of Downton, near Salisbury, England. Modern garden pea varieties trace back to Knight's selection, which explains why garden peas were known around the world as "English peas" up until the early years of the 20th century.
- Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884), an Austrian monk, worked with peas in laying the foundation of the modern science of genetics.
- For thousands of years peas were eaten in soups or porridges made from the dried pea today known as the field pea.
- By the Bronze Age (c.3000 BC) they were used by the inhabitants of Central Europe, and primitive seeds have been found in areas inhabited by Swiss lake dwellers!
- The oldest pea ever found was nearly 3,000 years old and discovered on the border of Burma and Thailand.
- Peas were known to the Greeks and Romans (the Romans grew 37 different varieties at one point) and these early types were first mentioned in England after the Norman conquest.
- The Italians are credited with breeding what became known as "piselli novelli" or new peas, the small peas most of us today call petits pois (little peas).
- Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) is said to have taken the Italian peas "piselli novelli" to France (along with her chefs) when she married Henri II in 1533. This helped make petits pois a delicacy in France.