The exceptionally exotic taste of the Garden Pea is the most relished characteristic that makes it uniquely popular amongst all beans. Though botanically it is a fruit however we relish its taste as a delicate vegetable. The moment it blends with any other vegetable, its sweet taste reigns the delicacy of any dish and every chef realizes what wonders it can create.
A cool season crop, Garden Pea is the most treasured possession of any ideal garden. Botanically Garden Peas are included in a vast family of legumes and are distinctively classified as Pisum sativum var. sativum.
Garden Pea is an annual herb though its growth factor is largely dependent on the climate and temperature. A green colored pod shaped fruit, Garden Pea is majorly grown as a cold season vegetable. Garden pea can hardly tolerate the bright rays of sun and is extremely delicate towards harsh summers. It is advisable to grow peas in slightly acidic and well drained soil as they blossom to their fullest in such conditions. There are a number of varieties of Peas, which can be classified as short peas and vine peas. The vine peas have characteristic thin tendrils from leaves that coil with any available support to reach a maximum height of about 2meters. Generally stems from other plants and their dry branches are used to provide support to these tender green Pea plants. Garden Pea is self pollinating plant therefore it doesn’t require to be pollinated by any other plant. These are some of the prominent features which have made the Garden Pea a favorites among scientists and that’s the reason why renowned genetic scientist Gregor Mendel experimented genetics on the Pea plant.
Two major varieties of Garden Pea
- Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon which is commonly known as snow pea.
- Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon ser. cv. is called sugar or snap pea or mange-tout in the common language.
Following are the major diseases which hamper the growth of Garden Peas:
- Bacterial diseases: bacterial blight, brown spot, etc.
- Fungal diseases : Anthracnose, Black leaf, Downy mildew, Near wilt, and many more
- Nematodes, parasitic diseases: Cyst nematode, Root-knot nematode
- Viral diseases: Pea leaf roll, Pea stunt, Pea streak, etc.
Uses of Garden Pea
Garden Pea has been ruling our kitchens for ages now. In Indus Valley Civilization Peas were prominently pre soaked and stored for their future usage. However today almost all forms of cooking have been experimented on this tender and fruity vegetable.
Boiling and steaming is the easiest method of cooking the peas and this enhances the sweet taste of the peas along with making it more nutritious and easy to be digested.
The popularity of Peas reached worldwide and therefore cultivation of Peas saw great increase. Along with various preservation techniques whooping in, Peas became available year-round and not in merely spring.
Green and tender Peas can be boiled and flavored with butter or anything according to taste and be served as a proper delicacy. Little sprinkled salt and pepper adds to the sweet and raw taste of the peas.
Garden Peas are also used in various stir-fried dishes and are an integral part of American and Chinese cuisines and their taste can be reinvented at any time of the year by soaking in the water for a few hours.
Garden peas can be preserved by canning, drying or freezing. Fresh peas can also be used in pot pies, salads and casseroles.
Aloo Matar Rasdaar(Indian)
When the seeds begin to splutter, add the onion paste and saute till fat separates. Now add the tomatoes or puree, turmeric, salt, garam masala, red pepper and the coriander powder, and stir-fry till fat separates. After this add the peas, potatoes and the green chillies and saute over high heat till the vegetables look glossy. Finally add 2 cups of water; bring to a boil and simmer, for 10-15 minutes.Serve hot, garnished with the coriander leaves. And get ready for a shower of compliments.
Make a paste by grinding together half the onions, the garlic and coriander seeds. Heat the ghee in a frying pan and cut the paneer into 2.5-cm/1-inch cubes. Fry the paneer to a light brown and remove to drain on a plate. Add the remaining onion and the ginger to the ghee / oil in a pan and add the bay leaves and fry until the onion is golden brown. Add the turmeric and the paste mixture and fry until the ghee starts to separate. Now throw in the paneer and mutter (peas) along with the yogurt, chili, tomato and salt. Stir for 5-6 minutes over low heat. Pour in the water and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Ready to serve hot.
Carrot and Green Peas Soup
Wash the unpeeled carrot well. Chop it into 2 cm cubes. Add green peas, onion and ginger slices. Wash the mint sprigs. Separate the leaves from stems. Tie the stems in a bunch with a thread. Place carrot and peas mixture in a pressure cooker. Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 10 minutes.
Cool till it is just warm. Discard the mint stems and blend the vegetable mixture. Add milk, salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add some more milk or water. Heat thoroughly and serve garnished with chopped mint leaves.