Grown from pea plants, peas are nutrient-filled global delicacy that originated in the Mediterranean Basin. They can be boiled, steamed, or eaten raw and are rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber. While there edibility is undisputed, did you know dried peas were once used as an “alarm system?” Also, did you know there was an instance where a pea plant grew in a patient’s lung? Continue reading to find out more mind-blowing peas facts.
1. Janet Harris Holds the Record For The Most Peas Eaten with a Chopstick
Set in 1984, Sussex’s Janet Harris holds the record for the most peas eaten with chopsticks. She ate 7175 peas, one by one, in 60 minutes. Nicknamed the “record breaker,” a talented American, David Rush, set three similar records recognized by the Guinness World Records. In 2018, he ate 49 peas in 30 seconds, 108 in a minute, and 293 in three minutes, using a cocktail stick.
2. Peas Originated from the Mediterranean Basin
Archaeological evidence places Mediterranean Basin and Near East as the origin of peas. The countries in these regions that actively cultivated these crops include Israel, Iraq, Anatolia, Syria, Greece, and Jordan. The culture later spread to Egypt, Georgia, and Afghanistan.
3. There Is a Proper Etiquette for Eating Peas
Apparently, the correct way to eat peas is by using the convex side of a fork to squash them, one at a time, before eating.
4. Peas Contain A Lot Of Water
About 79% of a pea is made of water; therefore, not much water is needed to boil them. They also contain 14% carbohydrates, 5% fat, and negligible fat. Peas are a good source of Vitamin A, folate, thiamine, phosphorus, fiber, and iron.
5. A Trail Made of Peas Once Led to the Capture of a Notorious Serial Killer
Christman Genipperteinga was a notorious serial killer who operated in the 16th century. He reportedly murdered about 964 people before he was captured in a rather bizarre way. A woman was given a sack of peas to mark a trail to the perpetrator’s location. Armed men followed it, leading to his arrest.
6. Different Species of Peas Are Available
There are three pea species: English, snow, and snap peas. While most (including English peas) don’t have edible pods, some, such as snow peas, are suitable for consumption.
7. The Name Pea Originates from the Greek Word “Pison”
While the plants originated from the Mediterranean Basin, the word “pea” comes from the Greek word “pison.” It was later adopted into Latin “pisum,” before it became an English word.
8. Peas Were Once Considered a Luxury
During Queen Elizabeth 1’s reign, peas were considered a luxury and were very expensive. The monarch had them imported from the Netherlands for the royal table.
9. Dried Peas Were Once Used As “Alarm Clocks”
During the Industrial Revolution, alarm clocks were expensive and not reliable. As such, the knocker-up, a person whose profession was to wake people up to go to work, used a pea shooter to blow out dried peas to rouse workers. The employees found the sound of the peas hitting their windows irritating, waking them up.
10. They Are Mostly Frozen
Peas are frozen at their ripest to preserve their texture, bright color, and sweetness, preventing them from going stale and tasting grainy. They can remain frozen for up to a year and still taste great.
11. A Pea Plant Once Grew in a Person’s Lungs
After battling emphysema for months, Ron Sveden’s health was acutely deteriorating, prompting a visit to the hospital. Upon examination, the doctors realized a pea plant was growing in the Massachusetts man’s lung. Surgeons removed the 1.25cm-size (about half an inch) plant, and the patient recuperated.
12. Clarence Birdseye Discovered Peas Can Be Frozen
Clarence Birdseye, an American entrepreneur and inventor, is credited with discovering that freezing can preserve peas. Through his international brand, Birdseye, his experiments led to the discovery that freezing peas helped maintain their eye-catching green color.
13. Peas Can Be Eaten Raw
While most people prefer steamed, boiled, or fried peas, they can be eaten raw, too, sometimes together with their pods, depending on the variety. Consuming them straight from the pod guarantees maximum nutritional benefits.
14. There Is a Classic Animation Series about Peas
From 1989 through to the 90s and parts of the 2000s, the UK audience was treated to a now classic animation about peas called The Poddington Peas. Specially produced for kids, the TV series highlighted how the eponymous group of peas lived “down at the bottom of the garden.” The show’s main characters included Black-Eyed Pea, Bump-Pea, Chip-Pea, Chop-Pea, and Creep-Pea.
15. Black Eyed Peas Are Not Peas
Even though they carry the name “pea,” black eyed peas are not peas; they are beans. Even though they are both legumes and fall under the same family, peas differ from beans in many ways, including being generally round.
16. A Ripe Pea Is Yellowish
Even though peas are famous for their green color, they are only so because they are usually picked unripe. Ripe peas are yellowish; people, especially the French, initially found it absurd to eat green peas.
17. The Phrase “Peas in a Pod” Has a Different Meaning
Usually, peas grow in pods where they are harvested. However, in English, the phrase “peas in a pod” has nothing to do with the plants; it means that two things or people are similar or indistinguishable.