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A Great Snack Food
A Great Snack Food

Green Peas: Year Round, Fresh from the Garden Snacking

frozen garden peasDo you hate to see the kids running for another bag of salt laden, fat rich,  high calorie potato chips or similar "treat" every time they are looking for a snack of some sort?  Perhaps you hate to see yourself doing it as well. 

Yet, what are the options?  Cookies and cake?  Well, there are nutritional drawbacks there too.  A nice, healthy vegetable platter might provide an answer, but there are difficulties in keeping on hand a selection of fresh, crisp vegetables that are cut, cleaned and ready-to-eat.

You may, however, want to consider garden fresh peas.  They are simply prepared and both tasty and nutritious.  Anyone who has eaten green peas right from the pod can attest to how delicious they are.  Nutritionists have proven their value as far as the pea's vitamin rich content is concerned.

Here, according to the USDA is the nutritional content of 100 g (3.5 oz) of raw, green peas, (with percentages referring to recommended daily totals):

Carbohydrates    

14.5 g

- Sugars  5.7 g

- Dietary fiber  5.1 g  

Fat

0.4 g

Protein

5.4 g

Vitamin A equiv.  38 μg 

4%

- β-carotene  449 μg 

4%

Thiamin (Vit. B1)  0.3 mg  

23%

Riboflavin (Vit. B2)  0.1 mg  

7%

Niacin (Vit. B3)  2.1 mg  

14%

Pantothenic acid (B5)  0.1 mg 

2%

Vitamin B6  0.2 mg

15%

Folate (Vit. B9)  65 μg 

16%

Vitamin C  40.0 mg

67%

Calcium  25.0 mg

3%

Iron  1.5 mg

12%

Magnesium  33.0 mg

9% 

Phosphorus  108 mg

15%

Potassium  244 mg  

5%

Zinc  1.2 mg

12%

Looks good doesn't it?  It's likely, though, that you have already thought of a drawback. Garden fresh peas are not always all that easy to come by, especially if you do not have a garden.

Fortunately, there is a solution.

Consider frozen peas.  Normally, they are flash frozen two or three hours after picking so little of their nutritional value is lost.  In fact, nutritional levels may be higher than those of fresh peas that may have taken two or three weeks to get from the farmer's field to the supermarket shelf.  They will also have already been shelled, eliminating that time consuming task.

Some people actually snack on frozen peas themselves.  If that idea, however, does not appeal to you, you can simply take a handful or two of the frozen product, place it in a sieve or strainer of some kind, and run cold water over it for just a few seconds.  You'll soon have thawed peas that taste amazingly similar to those peas that really do come straight from the garden.  Unlike some vegetables, thawing peas in this fashion does not leave you with a mushy mass of soggy veggies, so even the texture is similar to the fresh product.

Try it.  You may very well like it, and your kids may very well like it as well.

Using a vacuum sealer is a great way of freezing your own peas in season, or you could depend upon those packages of frozen peas that are readily available in just about any grocery store.  If choosing the latter option, the recommendation is to select grade A small peas for the best results.  You might want to try three or four different brands before settling on one that you really like.

Don't be surprised if this becomes a family favorite.  If it does, you will have found a simple, tasty, nutritious, and inexpensive alternative to those many salted snacks.

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