Early spring brought us local spinach, asparagus and herbs. Now that it is late spring we are enjoying the short season of fresh peas.
June is the season for peas, whether you choose English peas which need to be shelled (the pods aren’t edible), or snap and snow peas, which are eaten whole.Sweet and crunchy, fresh peas have vitamins A, K and C, niacin, fiber and antioxidants. They also are high in protein; a half-cup of peas has 4 grams of protein and only a trace of fat. They are great in soups, as a side dish, in casseroles or salads, or raw when freshly picked.
To pick your own, head for Trauger’s Farm Market in Kintnersville in another 10 days or so. Call the farm for availability.
The green pea is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world and peas were cultivated by ancient Greeks and Romans. They were brought to the New World by the earliest colonists and first planted by the Mayflower colony.
They are easy to grow and although potential home farmers may have missed the chance to plant them this spring, they can be planted in the fall. If you choose to try planting them, you will have to work to protect them from late summer heat.
When deciding how you want to enjoy fresh peas, consider this easy recipe from Bill Granger of cookingchanneltv.com as a side dish or vegetarian main dish.
1½ tablespoons butter
1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¾ cup white wine
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ cup heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
14 ounces tagliatelle pasta
Water, as needed
2 cups fresh shelled peas
Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the white wine and simmer until it has reduced by half. Add the lemon zest and cream, and simmer until slightly reduced, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package instructions in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water, until al dente. Add the peas to the boiling pasta 3 minutes before the end of the cooking process. Drain the ingredients well and toss the hot pasta with the sauce. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan.