How to select for best flavor:
The best way to test the freshness of peas is to break a pod open and taste one of the peas inside. Another way to test freshness is to push down gently on the pea pods on display and move them around a little. Fresh peas rubbed together will squeak. Buy small, bright-green pods that are rather velvety to the touch. Don’t buy pods that are filled to the bursting point. These are over mature and the peas will taste tough and mealy.
Peak of the season:
May through August is the peak season for peas, when local peas should be available in your market. Mexico, California, Florida and Texas make them available all year.
Peas are an excellent source of protein, especially when eaten with rice. They also have fair amounts of iron, potassium, calcium and vitamins A and C. One cup of cooked peas contains about 125 calories, almost no fat and about one 39 mgs. of sodium.
Keep peas unshelled in your refrigerator and use them very soon after buying them. The fresher the betterÂ Green peas became a huge fad in 17th Century France. Madame de Maintenon wrote a letter in 1696:
“Impatience to eat [peas], the pleasure of having eaten them, and the anticipation of eating them again are the three subjects I have heard very thoroughly dealt with… Some women, having supped and supped well at the King’s [Louis XIV] table, have peas waiting for them in their rooms before going to bed.”
These peas are eaten raw, from the shell, dipped in sauce.