Hystory and origin of peas
From peas plant G. Mendel began long and in-depth studies on hybridization and transmission of characters, then formulating laws of genetics that are still accepted and fully accredited by the world of science. The importance of peas does not stop only to genetics.These legumes have triumphed in the world, not only because of their delicate and sweet taste, but also for the good nutritional intake and a valuable therapy effects. In this article we will give a general description of the peas, delving into the topic in botany, nutrition and phytotherapy. Peas, like most legumes have the roots in the Neolithic, age corresponds to 7,000 BC. It is believed that the pea is native to India, despite the hypothesis this has not yet been fully credited.Currently, the pea plant is widely cultivated in Asia and in the Mediterranean countries. The peas are grown primarily for human consumption, but it is also widely used as forage grass.
Botanical analysis of peas
In botany, the pea plant is known since the mid-eighteenth century as Pisum sativum, whose nomenclature is derived from Carl von Linné, famous Swedish naturalist to whom we owe the current scientific classification of living organisms.The peas are in the family Fabaceae (also called Legumes or Papilionaceous).In the same group there are beans, lentils, broad beans, lupins, etc., all put together by the presence of the pod.The pea plant is herbaceous, glabrous and yearly: has a single stem, thin and brittle, whose length ranges from 30 cm to 3 metres. Depending on the size and morphological characteristics of the plant there are dwarf peas, creepers( or climber ) and semi-climbing.The root of the pea plant is taproot and reaches the 80 cm deep digging into the ground to feed on water and mineral salts. The leaves are pinnate and compound and, in the end, have a tendril. The flowers take on a different coloration depending on the species: some are white, others red or purple, but they are all gathered in clusters and long stems.The pods contain a variable number of seeds, which differ in colour, size and shape. The most peas for human consumption are rounded, but when the seeds are firmly tightened inside the fruit they can be cuboidali.We must point out that the peas differ primarily according to shape. In this regard, stand out straight from those curled peas for the different composition in terms of carbohydrates. The variety of smooth peas is such because itis constituted mainly by starch, while those curled are rich of soluble sugars and starch. They are the sweetest during maturation.In nature there are many pea species, some are very cultivated and appreciated for food. In some peas we eat also the pod (the so-called mangetout or sugar snap peas), within which the seeds are still at the embryonic stage.
Conservation of peas
Peas are available fresh during the months of May and June. They are also sold dried, frozen, and canned.Like all vegetables, it is better fresh pea consumption, because it is more tasty and nutritious. Dried peas require a period of soaking before being cooked, frozen ones require the same cooking mode and they taste almost identical, while canned ones are already ready for consumption.
What distinguishes peas from other legumes is the generous amount of water because their water content is variable from 72 to 80%. The amount of protein and carbohydrates is not very high if compared to other legumes: peas contain, respectively, about 5.5 and 6.5%. Similar is content for lipids, which certainly abounds in peas (only 0.6%). Strictly speaking, these peas are low-calorie foods (52Kcal/100 g of peas).In terms of fibre, the peas provide a modest amount (6.3%).Peas are a mine of folic acid, vitamin which, as we know, it is essential for the proper development of the fetus (to avoid severe deformities such as spina bifida), both to prevent cardiovascular disease. In these legumes the content of vitamin C and minerals (potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium) is quite abundant. A valuable food in many ways, even they are herbal remedies. The fibers contained in peas stimulate intestinal motility and are, therefore, a good remedy against constipation. Still, the peas have diuretic, tonic and energetic, although rather bland.With preparing a broth with the pods, you can get a liquid quite tasty and rich in mineral salts: this regard, the peas have remineralizing properties.It seems, moreover, that the consumption of peas and beans generally can help to lower the level of cholesterol in the blood.
The peas have some drawbacks: they are source of purines, therefore are not recommended for hyperuricaemic and for sufferers of gout.In general, we do not recommend the consumption of uncooked peas because these legumes contain anti–digestive factors, which are destroyed during cooking.
Peas: nutritional value per 100g
Presence of vitamin C, folic acid (B9)
Substantial amount of minerals like potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium