In the UK we love the humble pea – whether it’s mushy, garden, petit pois, sugarsnap, frozen, fresh or marrowfat we can’t get enough of them, eating on average 9,000 peas a year each, so it’s not surprising that we are celebrating Great British Pea Week.
We don’t just like eating peas, we love growing them too – the UK is proudly the largest producer (and consumer) of frozen peas in Europe with around 700 farmers harvesting more than two billion portions a year! To achieve these impressive numbers and satisfy our appetites, they plant the equivalent of 70,000 football pitches of peas every year!
The nation’s favourite is undoubtedly the frozen pea – a saviour for harassed parents everywhere who want to make sure a Friday night freezer tea contains at least one of the kids’ five a day!
The first peas were frozen by Clarence Birdseye who invented the ‘plate froster’ to preserve foods in the 1920s and the company is still freezing peas today, getting them from field to freezer within two-and-half hours of them being picked to preserve all their nutrients.
Peas aren’t just convenient, tasty and quick to cook they are good for us too – just one serving of freshly frozen garden peas contains as much vitamin C as two large apples. They are also a good source of vitamin A, folate, thiamine, iron and phosphors. They are rich in protein (a 100-calorie serving of peas contains more protein than an egg or a tablespoon of peanut butter), carbohydrate and fibre and low in fat. Some people even believe peas can give relief from ulcer pains in the stomach because they ‘use up’ stomach acids!
According to etiquette experts, the proper way to eat your peas is to squash them on the back of your fork but try telling that to Janet Harris of Sussex. In 1984 she broke the world for eating peas by scoffing an impressive 7,175 peas one by one in 60 minutes using chopsticks!
The nation’s love affair with this little green vegetable is celebrated in Great British Pea Week which aims to increase awareness and understanding of the provenance and heritage of peas. To mark the third Great British Pea Week, a pop up pea café will open for one day only on Thursday 12 July in London.
It’s yet to be revealed if they will be trying out an old aphrodisiac recipe which involves boiling peas with onions and spicing them with cinnamon but they have promised some amazing creations from some top chefs!