Perhaps one of the oddest things we did as kids was to add ketchup (yes, ketchup) to our peas.  Seriously, has anyone else heard of this?  I hated peas as a kid, and my mom taught me to douse them in the red stuff (which I wasn’t a huge fan of, either) to get them down.  These days, I’m all grown up, and while I may not LOVE peas, I can stomach them without the ketchup, thankyouverymuch.

Eat What:

-Did you know that the pea is technically a fruit?  It is, because it’s seeds are developed from the ovary of a flower.  However, in cooking it is considered a vegetable.

-Snow peas are actually just immature peas whose peapods are tender

-Field peas are typically grown to be dried, like split peas

-Thomas Jefferson grew 30 different varieties of peas on his estate in Virginia

-Gregor Mendel used pea plants to prove the modern theory of dominant/recessive traits in genetics

Eat When:

-Peas are a cool-season crop and are harvested here in June and July

-Store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to three days

-Be sure to try both sugar snap peas, fresh peas and dried

Eat Right:

-Peas are a good source of fiber and omega-3 fats

-Peas are an “environmentally friendly” crop, which means they impart benefits to the soil, like nitrogen and their root systems help prevent erosion

-Peas are high in Vitamin K and manganese

Eat More:

-Peas and mint are a traditional combination (believe it or not); try the recipe here on crostini

-Let them take a starring role in carbonara

-You can’t go wrong with Ina! Try split-pea or fresh-pea soups!

Jamie Oliver’s Cheesy Peas

How many of you grew up with your peas swimming in Velveeta Cheese Sauce?  I didn’t, but boy, would I have loved them!  Here’s a healthier, more ‘adult’ take on peas with cheese.

Coarse salt

1 pound peas, fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Freshly ground white pepper

Chopped fresh mint leaves, for garnish

  1. Bring a small saucepan filled with water to a boil, add salt and return to a boil. Add peas and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, reserving 4 tablespoons cooking water.
  2. Return peas to saucepan with reserved water and place over medium heat. Add butter and stir until combined. Add cheese and continue to stir until butter and cheese have melted and evenly coat peas. Add more of the reserved cooking water if necessary.
  3. Season peas with lemon juice and white pepper. Ganish with mint and serve immediately.


Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician.  She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related.  An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy.  Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive!  You can find her at