Pea Facts

Some interesting facts about the humble pea.

Why are peas the best?

  • Pea-ple rock – most freshly frozen garden peas and petits pois are frozen within a staggering two and a half hours of being picked, locking in all the nutrients.
  • They’ll never let you down – no matter the season, freshly frozen garden peas are available throughout the year.
  • They’re very low maintenance – being freshly frozen, there’s absolutely no preparation needed, and there’s zero wastage.
  • There are 35,000 hectares of peas grown in the UK each year, producing 160,000 tonnes of frozen peas.
  • In the six-week British harvesting season farmers work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using viners to harvest, shell and transport the peas from field to frozen as quickly as possible. This will produce a phenomenal 2 billion portions of peas.
  • The UK is 90% self-sufficient in pea production, so you’re helping support British farmers and industry. There are currently 18 farmer groups, containing 700 British pea growers, along the east coast of the UK, from Essex to North of Dundee.

Are peas good for me?

In one word – yes! But if you need more details…

  • Peas are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, thiamine (B1), iron and phosphorus. They are also rich in protein, carbohydrate and fibre and low in fat.
  • A 100 calories serving of peas contains more protein than a whole egg or tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Just one serving of freshly frozen garden peas and petits pois contains as much vitamin C as two large apples!
  • Half a cup of frozen peas has only 5% of the daily limit for sodium. Foods low in sodium are good for your heart.

Cooking up a storm

  • The less water you use when cooking peas, the less vitamin C is lost.
  • When boiling frozen peas, add enough water to cover, bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Steaming is a great option to conserve vitamins.
  • To microwave 227g (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).
  • No pre-cooking necessary, simply add them to your recipe or pop them straight into soups, casseroles or curries.

Did you know?

  • The east-facing seaboard and maritime climate is the perfect environment for growing superior quality peas.
  • 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.
  • Eating most of hers in one go, 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!
  • Thick London fogs of the 19th and 20th centuries were dubbed ‘pea-soupers’ because of their density and green tinge.

Historical pea-ces

  • Peas are thought to have originated in Middle Asia and the central plateau of Ethiopia.
  • 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.
  • Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884), an Austrian monk, worked with peas in laying the foundation of the modern science of genetics.
  • 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).
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