Pea sprout is obtained by soaking peas in water, and they germinate to form a tiny root. There are several varieties of peas which can be sprouted in a similar way. The sprouted form of peas need to be harvested within a day or two, otherwise they develop long roots and tender shoots together. The pea plants in this stage are called pea shoots and are considered to be a nutritious food as well.
The sprouted peas are sweet in taste and can be used as a topping for salads as well as in sandwich fillings. The sprouts can also be cooked in a number of ways including being added to Chinese style stir-fries. It is necessary to purchase whole, unblemished peas instead of the split variety for sprouting.
Apart from containing protein, the sprouts are also rich in vitamins A, B, C and E along with iron, calcium and essential amino acids.
Growing Pea Sprouts
- The peas need to be washed clean of debris and placed within a wide mouthed jar which is filled with water.
- The seeds are usually allowed to soak overnight or for a period of 12 to 14 hours minimum.
- The peas are drained of water and rinsed thoroughly before being replaced in the jar which needs to be kept away from direct sunlight.
- The sprouts grow to 2 inches within a day or two and can be stored for consumption.
- They can be preserved for up to two months by refrigeration.
- A cup of peas usually yield double the amount of sprouts.
- Sprouts that develop an odor indicate signs of spoilage and need to be discarded.
Types of Pea Sprouts
- Bill Jump- This is a form of Canadian peas which contains several hard seeds that do not sprout. The hard ones need to be discarded and can be done even after rinsing the peas.
- Green Sprouts- This is the traditional green pea commonly used. It sprouts easily, the taste of the peas and the sprouts is similar. They are included in bean mixes on account of their color which gives the dish a multicolored hue.
- Yellow- This is a small and rare form of pea that is yellowish in color and sprouts easily.
- Marrowfat Peas- A big sized pea that is light green in color, it is used traditionally for preparing mushy peas. The odd-shaped seeds are tender and sprout quickly.
- Speckled Peas- This pea is extremely tender with the sprouts often been left longer to grow shoots.
Culinary Uses of Pea Sprouts
The sprouts can be utilized as raw food items by incorporating them in salads and sandwich fillings. They are also used for cooking numerous dishes from stir-fries, to soups and curries. Some of the popular pea sprout recipes are:-
- Pea Dip- A pureed form of sprouted peas which are blended together with garlic and onion. It is used as a spread for crackers and is served with crudités occasionally.
- Thai Stir-Fry Sprouts- A typical Asian dish consisting of Pea sproutwhich are stir-fried in peanut oil together with garlic and served with a dash of sea salt and sugar.
Sweet Pea sprout is a dish of mixed sprouts completely unrelated to the toxic flowering plant of the same name.