I am big fan of peas so when I found an article all about peas in Waitrose Weekend, their weekly newspaper all things food, I had to take a look. We Brits have always been big fans of peas, they take no preparation, super quick to cook and taste great. We are using them more in our cooking rather just as an accompaniment. Our love of this tasty little veg has increased by 10% in the past 5 years alone. The key to fresh, good quality peas is the time from picking to freezing. Pea farmers like to ensure peas are picked, shelled and frozen in less than 150 minutes.
Pea farms are located on the East Coast of the UK from Essex all the way to North of Dundee. These farms grow 35,000 hectares of peas each year, or 7,000 football pitches if that is easier to visualise. This provides us with 160,000 tonnes of peas or a staggering 2 billion 80g portions. We Brits are the largest consumers of peas in Europe with each of us eating about 9,000 per year. That works out roughly at just over 2 portions each a week, assuming a portion is 80g.
What you can do with peas is endless, from pairing it with fish and chips to making soup, risotto or fish cakes. If you have a dish that looks a bit unappealing, throw in some peas to cheer it up, but only had them near the end of cooking as they will lose their colour of left stewing for too long. A couple of my favourite things to do with peas is to make Pea and Mint Soup where the flavour combination is amazing, or make my Aubergine, Sweet Potato and Cashew Nut Curry where they add a splash of colour as well of taste.
I always like fun food facts so here are some pea ones.
- Janet Harris of Sussex holds the World record for eating peas. In 1984 she ate 7,175 peas over one hour one by one using chopsticks
- Clarence Birdseye was the first person to freeze peas, he then went on to have a very successful career freezing food
- the garden pea has been around since 4,800 BC