May, June, July, August and almost almost even September, plus April for the former if spring is early: these are the months in which to harvest the fresh peas and find them in the fruit and vegetable stalls. In particular, late spring is their natural harvesting period in Italy: peas in fact – for those who have a piece of land in which to try their hand – are planted in early spring and after less than two months the garden offers its fruits, ready to feed us. In the other months of the year, they remain excellent to taste even frozen foods: this is why peas become a useful food 12 months a year.
Substantial, inviting, simple and versatile, the fresh peas protagonists of this season are brought to the table between appetizers, side dishes, first courses. But you really know all of them secrets and their properties? The first, not trivial, is that peas I'm not a vegetable. It is instead a legume, and this feature makes them a great source of energy: legumes are now considered a real superfood. And in fact the peas, when combined with cereals like rice – the famous "risi e bisi"! – return one to the organism protein mixture of comparable value to that of animal proteins.
They are in fact composed of carbohydrates (14 grams per 100), fiber, protein, and even vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium. They strengthen the body due to the high presence of vitamin C and fortunately they do not contain cholesterol.
Their origin it comes from far away: from Mesopotamia, and then spread in the diet of Greeks and Romans reaching us. The pea fruit is composed of the pod, which hides and protects up to 12 seeds, which is the edible part we know. There are many species and varieties, used according to the type of consumption for which the product is intended (drying, canning, fresh etc).
The taste it is quite inviting: slightly sweet, it is ideal for convincing children to vary foods, it has a caloric content to keep under control in case of low-calorie dietary regimes (80 calories per 100 grams) but not excessively high, it provides essential nutrients to fuel our body. Plus, they give a fort sense of satiety, an interesting element for those who are thinking about getting into shape and find it hard to resist at the table.
Caution in cases of low-content diets carbohydrates, not to be confused with vegetables: in this case consumption must be limited. The second risk is that of those suffering from allergies or favismo: in the latter case the consumption of peas, such as broad beans and verbena, is prohibited.
Once purchased fresh, and after having patiently shelled them from their pods, here they are ready for their best quality: the taste! Remember, in the purchase, to choose those from smaller dimensions if you love them tender and sweeter, and once purchased, it is good not to keep them more than a day in fridge.
A taste note: peas, the first, freshly picked, very fine and very tender, I'm really delicious eaten raw. Their sweetness is incomparable! Fantastic if paired with cheeses not too seasoned, such as pecorino primosale or feta and also cold cuts such as prosciutto (both cooked and raw) and salami. Like all foods, they retain their nutritional properties intact. Peas though they also contain anti-digestive factors, which are destroyed during cooking. This does not mean that you cannot eat them raw, but that you have to do it without exaggerating in quantity. Who already has digestion problems should instead to avoid raw consumption – and even cooked eat them preferably in the form of purée. For all others, the consumption of cooked peas is recommended at will: they are real bowel scavengers, which free from waste.
Finally, here are the first tips for use, starting with appetizers: quiche, perhaps with bacon, is a good choice, but also flans, or meatballs with feta. Arriving at first dishes, here they are protagonists of velvety creams, soups, or as a condiment for pasta dishes (look at this recipe with spicy salami!). And again, in the second: curious at the top of the Genoese, but also with fish, in the tortilla. The side dish it is soon done: it will be enough to make them jump in the pan garnishing them at will … while for the experimenters, here is the additional idea: to make them protagonists of a dessert like madeleine with baby peas, taking advantage of the sweet taste of freshly picked peas to commit a small sin of gluttony.
updated in March 2019
from Aurora Quinto
DISCOVER THE COOKING COURSES SALT & PEPE