Peas are an unpretentious crop that will surprise you with their versatility.

Peas contain a high amount of vegetable protein without cholesterol.

It is also full of vitamins and minerals that our body absolutely needs.

Edible pea pods are an excellent choice for a healthy snack.

What is a pea and what is a pea?

Are peas a vegetable or a legume?

Not only these questions will be answered in our article.

Peas or Peas?

Peas and peas are part of the fruit (pod) of the same plant ( Pisum sativum ).

A pea is an immature grain while a pea is a fully matured seed. After harvesting, peas are dried and heat-treated (a process similar to pasteurization), but peas do not undergo any treatment, they remain raw.


It is a sweet unripe fruit full of water and sugar. It is intended for quick consumption, it stays fresh for a maximum of 3 days in the cold. It loses its sweetness and juiciness just a few hours after picking. The sugar turns into starch and the young peas taste more mealy.

It contains a significant amount of vitamins, especially vitamin A, C, K, thiamine and folic acid. Vitamin A is an important element for the functioning of the immune system, it also supports the formation of red blood cells.

Half a cup of young peas contains 1.84 mg of this vitamin, which is even more than the recommended daily dose. For pregnant women who are advised to consume a larger amount per day, this half-full cup provides up to 115%.

Young green peas in a pod

What to cook from peas?

  • It is most often used in fresh vegetable salads in combination with fresh herbs and yogurt. It will also add a touch of freshness to a delicious homemade salad .
  • If you like healthy snacks, don’t forget to try the pea spread . It is also suitable as a lightly fried side dish for fish or you can try a healthier version of risotto from it.
  • Pea cream is also a universal dish, which is served as a soup, but if necessary, it can easily be transformed into a great side dish for meat.


Peas contain up to 85% less water than peas, their shelf life is up to several years when stored in resealable containers.

Compared to its “younger self”, it loses its vitamin content, on the other hand, it has much more minerals. It is an important source of iron, potassium, magnesium and also carbohydrates; gives the body more energy.

Potassium is indispensable for the human body. It is important for the proper functioning of tissues and muscles; its deficiency manifests itself precisely in muscle spasms. The recommended daily intake for an adult is 390 mg. The good news is that one serving of a side dish in the form of mashed peas is enough for you to get this optimal dose of potassium.

Dried green peas legume

I’m playing in the kitchen

  • Dried peas are the ones you most often know from stores. It is classically used on the well-known pea soup . Pea porridge with smoked meat is also popular, but also other variants – with sausage or sausage, with turmeric or curry, with a fried egg and chives.
  • Steamed carrots with peas are easy to prepare. Due to the healthy carrots (which release 35% more beta-carotene due to preparation by steaming) and peas as a source of potassium, this dish becomes the healthiest lunch for children.

Pea pods

The Moravian naturalist JG Mendel 1 was already involved in the first crossing of pea varieties and thus laid the foundations for the field of genetics. Also thanks to this initiative, over time, varieties were bred that have edible not only seeds, but also whole pods. One such variety is sugar snap peas, which is why these pods are often called sugar snap peas.

The pods do not stay fresh for long after being picked, so it is necessary to process them as quickly as possible. They are rich in soluble fiber, vitamin A and C. They are also low-fat and cholesterol-free.

The soluble fiber contained in the pods acts as a natural probiotic for the human gut. As for vitamin C, just 20 fresh pea pods provide around 51% of the recommended daily intake for an adult. This vitamin acts as a natural antioxidant and protects DNA from free radical damage.

Green pods of peas and peas

Pea pods and what to cook with them

  • Pods are a great option for a healthy crunchy snack – just like that, raw. Lightly sautéed in butter, it makes a tasty accompaniment to steaks. You can also combine them with any fresh vegetables to create unique and above all healthy salads.
  • It is also suitable as another type of vegetable in the so-called chicken dish , it is recommended to add them only at the end of cooking so that they do not boil. And if you’re in the mood for appetizers, be sure to try some variation of fresh pods filled with stuffing or spread.

Nutritional comparison and vitamins in peas / peas

Fresh peas
100 g 2
Dried peas
100 g 3
Pea pods
100 g 4
Carbohydrates 14.5 g 60.4 g 7.55 g
Proteins 5.4 g 24.6 g 2.8 g
Fiber 5.1 g 25.5 g 2.6 g
Sugars 5.7 g 8.0 g 4 g
Fats 0.4 g 1.2 g 0.2 g
Vitamin A 765 IU 149 IU 180 IU
Vitamin C 40.0 mg 1.8 mg 60 mg
Vitamin K 24.8 mcg 14.5 mcg 25 mcg
Niacin 2.1 mg 2.9 mg 0.6 mg
Folate 65.0 mcg 274 mcg 42 mcg
Choline 28.4 mg 95.5 mg 17.4 mg
Calcium 25.0 mg 55.0 mg 43 mg
Magnesium 33.0 mg 115 mg 24 mg
Potassium 244 mg 981 mg 200 mg
Selenium 1.8 mcg 1.6 mcg 0.7 mg
Iron 1.5 mg 4.4 mg 2.08 mg

Vegetables or legumes?

The answer is: both. Raw young peas and pods are classified as starchy vegetables. Whereas a ripe pea seed is a legume.

Most varieties are grown with specific characteristics and with a clear purpose of production. That is, specific types produced like peas and pods (vegetables) and on the other hand the others – like peas (legumes). However, it can happen that a variety intended for growing vegetables simply overripes and becomes a legume.

Peas and peas – species

Let’s familiarize ourselves with the varieties of peas and peas.

English peas

A variety grown for raw peas and has no edible pods. It is also called green pea or garden pea.

Snow peas

Often referred to as Chinese peas or Chinese pods. It has flat edible pods, which, however, should not be filled with peas before harvesting if the intention is to produce only pods. It is therefore harvested as completely flat.

Sugar snap peas

It is a variety crossed from English and snow peas. In this species, young peas are allowed to grow. The pods are edible and can be eaten right at the same time as the young peas inside.

Sown peas

Produced as a legume, i.e. for its ripe seeds. This type of legume is most often used for human consumption, whether it undergoes a drying or canning process. It is sold both whole and in halves.

Marrow peas

It has a firm seed coat and large grains. It is grown for the purpose of legumes and further processing – for the production of starch. In some cases, it is grown instead of peas – it is therefore a species that is also harvested as an immature grain.

Yellow (field) peas

Sometimes also called as white peas or Matar Dal. The seeds of this variety are rather white, grown for the purpose of mature dried form. This pea gets its yellow color from peeling the skin. Like split peas, they are available whole or split.

(Maple) maple pea

Maple peas have a nutty flavor and a brown to red color. The seeds are allowed not only to ripen but also to dry naturally for as long as possible before they are harvested. This variety is not common, therefore not as affordable as, for example, green peas.

It is great in soups, but also as a roast in the oven – often as a side dish with beef. Maple pea is easy to recognize during the growing season, its flowers are purple, while other varieties have white.

Attention! Black-eyed peas are not peas

Although it is called a pea, it is actually a bean. Other legumes that are sometimes mistakenly called peas include chickpeas, pigeon peas and butterfly peas.

Peas and peas, vegetables and legumes – a big overview

for immature seeds
for ripe seeds; then dried

for unripe edible pods
Vegetables Legumes Legumes
after seed ripening
Green peas Yes No No Yes No Yes
Garden peas Yes No No Yes No Yes
English peas Yes No No Yes No Yes
Matar Dal (Yellow Field Peas) No Yes No No Yes Yes
Sown peas No Yes No No Yes Yes
Maple (Maple) peas No Yes No No Yes Yes
Sugar snap peas Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
Snow peas No No Yes Yes No Yes
Marrow peas Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes

Bloating and gas

Like other legumes, peas also contain raffinose – carbohydrates that literally escape digestion. They are only absorbed in the large intestine, and intestinal bacteria release so-called waste gases during their decomposition; thus causing gas.

Peas also contain lectins, natural toxins found in plants. However, these toxins can clot and suppress red blood cells. People with more sensitive digestion may have a problem with this specific protein in the form of the aforementioned bloating, stomach and intestinal pain or even diarrhea.

Disrupting the effect of lectins can be achieved by soaking or blanching the peas.


To make the peas easier to digest, it is recommended to soak them in water for at least 24 hours before cooking. This procedure washes away much of the problematic carbohydrates and also shortens the cooking time.


Blanching is a truly universal process that offers a lot of benefits, which is why it becomes part of the preparation of many vegetables.

  • Reduces bloating.
  • It preserves the original taste (sweetness in young peas).
  • It retains all the necessary nutrients, minerals and vitamins in the crop.
  • It helps to keep the bright green color (for every vegetable) even during finishing.
  • Prevents boiling during subsequent heat treatment; maintains shape and texture.
  • Extends the shelf life of frozen vegetables (blanched peas can last up to 8 months in the freezer without damage).
Blanching peas and peas

How to blanch peas?

  1. Fill a large pot with water up to the brim (the basis of blanching is really a lot of water), add enough salt (at least 30 g of salt is recommended for 1 liter of water) and bring to a boil.
  2. Prepare peas, peas, pods; clean, if necessary wash.
  3. Drop the vegetables into the boiling water and let them cook for 2 minutes (no more).
  4. Then drain quickly and place immediately in a bowl of ice water; don’t be afraid to add pieces of ice, for example. The cooling must be immediate and as strong as possible.
  5. After 2 minutes in ice water, the blanched pods, peas and peas are ready for final freezing and storage in the freezer.

Vegetables blanched and frozen in this way do not need to be thawed before further cooking. All you have to do is lightly fry it or steam it for a while.

Heat treatment and adequate portion size

If you have problems with digesting peas, it is also possible to boil them for at least 15 minutes; do not eat it semi-raw or raw. If you want to prevent gas, it is also a good idea to add baking soda when preparing food. It has the property that it can break down specific carbohydrates and thereby reduce the amount of intestinal gas.

Also, don’t forget about adequate portions. Although peas are indeed a healthy crop, the rule applies – too much is too much. The optimal daily intake of legumes is a maximum of 190 g (for an adult).

Pea products

The processing of pea plants, fruits and seeds provides “waste” in the form of stems, leaves, and in some varieties pods, and in the case of yellow peas, also seed husks. All this waste contains so much fiber, protein and other nutrients that it continues to be processed into pea products.

Pea starch

It is a byproduct of protein extraction for pea protein. Therefore, due to the low production costs, it becomes the cheapest starch on the market. It is a rich source of amylose, so it has better thickening properties than corn or potato starch. Pea starch can be used in soups and sauces, but also to make sweet desserts or pasta. It is also used instead of flour to coat meat before frying.

Pea flour

It is made mainly from the yellow pea variety, by grinding the peeled seeds. Pea flour contains about 23% protein, which is not little at all, but the opposite. It is a great gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. Due to its taste and properties, however, it must be combined with other types of flour or, for example, pea protein during the production of products.

Pea protein

This product is made by removing the starch and fiber from the seeds, so that only the proteins remain, that is, proteins. Pea protein is one of the best plant-based proteins available on the market. It is an essential part of protein bars in the fitness world. It helps the digestion process, is rich in iron and therefore helps in muscle growth.

Pea and pea pasta

There are several types available on the market. From green pea flour, from yellow pea flour, or in combination with pea protein. They are gluten-free, vegan and high in protein and fiber. Mainly because of the not very delicious taste that remains in them from the flour, they are more suitable for salads and not as a separate side dish.

Peas – a cheap and waste-free crop

This crop is the second most important legume on a global scale. Peas are popular mainly for their undemanding cultivation – they do not take long to ripen and thrive even in cold and semi-arid conditions. Low production costs therefore rank it among the cheapest and most affordable foods.

How are snow peas grown and harvested, for example? Watch the video:

Snow Pea Farming and Harvest - Snow Pea Cultivation

Another plus of this crop is that the production of peas is almost waste-free. The parts of the plant that are not intended for direct human consumption are further processed into the already mentioned pea products; where appropriate, they are used as fodder for farm animals.

It is worth mentioning that peas are more beneficial to the body in their classic dried form than, for example, canned. Canned legumes contain too much sodium, preservatives unsuitable for the body, salt and added sugar.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)