The Story of A Canned Pea

In Dr. Ruben’s Book “Everything You Wanted to Know About Food,” I enjoyed his story of The Canned Pea and I wanted to share it with you. The “life of a pea” was studied from the farmer’s field to the American dinner table. After the pea arrives at the factory:

  • 30% of the nutrients are lost during the cooking and canning process.
  • 25% of the nutrients are lost in the sterilization process.
  • 27% of the nutrients float away in discarded fluids.
  • 12% of the nutrients are lost while cooking the peas at home.

What you end up with is a “little round, green disaster” that has lost 94% of its nutrients.

Enjoy these recipes using fresh or frozen peas and you can’t go wrong.

Not So Mushy Peas

  • 1 packed cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1 packed cup fresh mint
  • 3 cups freshly shelled peas or frozen and defrosted organic peas, patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Put the parsley and mint in a food processor and pulse to finely chop, then scrape into a bowl and set aside. Return the base to the processor; do not rinse the base. Add the peas and pulse until very finely chopped.

In a medium size saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO, a turn of the pan, and the remaining butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 5 minutes, then add the stock and peas and bring to a bubble over medium-high heat. Cook the fresh peas for about 10 minutes, or about 6-7 minutes if using frozen defrosted peas. When most of the liquid has evaporated, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir in the herbs. Remove from the heat.

Risotto with Peas


  •  1½ cups arborio rice
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 medium shallot or ½ small onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
  • Kosher salt, to taste

1. Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.

 3. Add the rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so, until there is a slightly nutty aroma. But don’t let the rice turn brown.
 4. Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed.
 5. Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.

Note: It’s important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.

 6. Continue adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice while the liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, you’ll see that the rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches.
 7. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn’t done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it’s absorbed.
 8. Stir in the peas,  the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, the parmesan cheese and the parsley, and season to taste with Kosher salt.
 9. Risotto turns glutinous if held for too long, you should serve it right away. A properly cooked risotto should form a soft, creamy mound on a dinner plate. It shouldn’t run across the plate, nor should it be stiff or gluey.
If you missed my first post today Eat Frozen, Not Canned click the title to link back. 

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