These little green vegetables may look small, but they deliver a big nutritional punch. Loaded with vitamins A, C and K, important minerals like calcium, copper and zinc, along with filling fiber, the green pea offers more than what meets the eye. As a low-calorie protein, 1 cup of peas provides 118 calories and 8 grams of protein — more than 1 hard boiled egg or 1 tbsp of peanut butter! Read on to learn how the humble pea can have a big impact on a healthy diet.
Selecting and Storing:
- Only 5% of peas are grown and sold fresh, with the rest found frozen or canned. Fresh is always best, but frozen peas are another great option and picked at their peak, so the nutritional profile will be nearly identical to fresh. If choosing canned peas, look for low sodium options and rinse well before serving.
- When choosing fresh peas look for pods that are firm and smooth, with a medium green color.
- Store fresh peas in a bag or sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Preparation and Recipe Ideas:
- Important water-soluble vitamins can often leach into water when cooking. Instead, try steaming peas to conserve as much nutrients as possible.
- When boiling frozen peas, add enough water to cover, bring to the boil, and then cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Try using the leftover liquid for a soup instead of throwing it out to keep nutrients lost during boiling.
- Peas are delicious by themselves but their rich green color can make meals pop! Try adding peas to everyday dishes like salads and soups, or substituting them into some of your favorite recipes like guacamole or pesto. If you’re feeling extra adventurous try adding them into sweet treats for extra fiber.