Spring’s Perfect Ingredient: Pea Shoots

Yes, I am still enjoying the magic of Australia in March, so please enjoy this FAB guest post about the precious pea by Pamela Braun.

I’m guessing by now that you’ve had your fill of the Winter weather as well as the heavy foods associated with the cold season. At this point, I think we’re all looking for some lighter foods and a bigger selection of fruits and vegetables at this point.

You’re probably familiar with peas. Yes those little green bites of goodness. Be they English peas, sugar snap peas or snow peas I’m sure you’re a fan of at least one of those types. But what about pea shoots? I’m not talking about those spindly little greens with a pair of diminutive leaves at the top that you find at health food stores (yes, those are of the same kind of plant but are actually pea sprouts and are a much younger version of what I’m going to be introducing you to).

Pea shoots are the first six to eight inches of growth of the traditional garden pea – the whole thing, including the stem, leaves, filigree of tendrils and sometimes a little flower or pea pod. The entire sprout is edible and tastes like a fresh pea. Sometimes the tips of the tendrils might be a bit tough, but all you need to do is trim them off.
The pea shoots are incredibly versatile as well. After you give them a good washing (simply swish the bunch around in cool water and pat dry with a towel) you can use them in sandwiches (instead of lettuce), turn them into pesto, toss them into a salad or do a quick stir fry with them.

You’ll also be glad to know that these little pea shoots are a powerhouse of nutrition. (All nutrition facts listed here are approximate.)

Two cups of raw pea shoots have 10 calories
Zero fat
35.5% of the recommended daily vitamin C
15% of vitamin A
8.75% of vitamin E
132% of vitamin K
10.5% of folate
5.75% of thiamine
7% of riboflavin
4.75% of vitamin B-6.
They’re also full of phytonutrients and antioxidants.

You can find pea shoots in Spring through early Summer. They’re most readily found at farmer’s markets but can also be found at Asian markets sold as dau mui. But why not grow some yourself? You can even grow them in a pot, since you only need them to get six inches tall. When you cut them, just remember that you won’t get another pea plant from that seed, but the sacrifice of the plant is well worth it. The best peas to use for this are sugar snap peas.

< Sesame Garlic Pea Shoot Stir Fry
1 Large Handful Pea Shoots (cleaned and dried)
1 Small Clove Garlic (grated)
2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil
Kosher or Sea Salt
In a small sauté pan add sesame oil and grated garlic.
Heat oil and garlic over medium heat until you begin to smell the garlic toasting.
Add the pea shoots to the pan and turn lightly to wilt the shoots. (These will wilt/cook very quickly.)
Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and stir to combine.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.

About Pamela: Pamela Braun loves creating recipes and cooking for her friends and husband. She writes a food blog called My Man’s Belly where you can find recipes that are delicious and easy to prepare. Oh, and some fun relationship advice. You can also follow her on Twitter @MyMansBelly.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 18th, 2011 at 11:48 am and is filed under Fabulous Food Finds, Guest Posts, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Dishes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Spring’s Perfect Ingredient: Pea Shoots”

  1. Relishments » Highlights: Happy First Day of Spring! Says:

    [...] pea shoots (Fabulous Food Finds) [...]

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