What are Sugar Ann Peas?
Sugar ann pea (Pisum sativum) is a member of the nightshade family. It belongs to the same genus as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and potatoes. These plants produce small pods with edible seeds which contain between 0.5% and 1% starch or sweetener. They have been cultivated since ancient times and their use dates back to the Neolithic period.
The name “peas” comes from the Latin word pisum meaning “seeds”. Sugar ann pea is one of the most widely grown vegetables in Europe, Asia and North America.
It is used as a vegetable food, as well as a spice, seasoning and medicine. The plant grows best in warm climates where it prefers moist soil but tolerates dry conditions too.
How to Grow Sugar Ann Peas?
Growing sugar ann pea requires little attention other than regular fertilization. The plants grow very fast and can reach heights of 10 feet. You will get around 20 to 30 pounds per square foot if you grow them in pots. If you want to grow them in your garden, then they require less space than many other annual crops such as beans or lettuce.
You can start the seeds inside and then transplant them outside when the weather is warm enough. They like full sun and tolerate poor soil conditions very well.
Make sure that you fertilize the soil before planting because they require a lot of nutrients. You can grow them by seed, but it is easier to start them in pots or peat pots and then transplant the young plants into your garden.
They grow rapidly and should be given support using a trellis or other structure. You can plant them after all danger of frost has passed in your area.
You can harvest the peas when they are young and tender or allow them to mature into full size peas.
What do Sugar Ann Peas Look Like?
The sugar ann pea can grow up to 3 feet tall. They have a short sturdy root system which is not as extensive as the common bean. The leaves are made up of three leaflets that can grow up to 7 inches long. They have pink or purple flowers that are about an inch long with the same width.
The pods are green when immature and turn yellow, grey or white when mature. They contain peas that are oblong in shape.
The peas are filled with a starchy substance (much like a potato) which turns into sugar once it reaches maturity. Some people call them “sugar peas” as a result.
How to Eat Sugar Ann Peas?
The peas can be eaten on their own or as part of a larger dish. Native Americans ate them raw, boiled or roasted them over an open fire. You can also cook them in stews, casseroles and other similar dishes. You can eat the entire plant including the roots, leaves and stems.
Sugar ann peas contain carbohydrates and vitamins, but not a great deal of either. They are rich in vitamin C and contain some quantities of thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
The plants are also a good source of dietary fiber.
How to Preserve Sugar Ann Peas?
The peas can be frozen, canned or dried using the traditional methods for each preservation method. If you want to use them in the winter, then it is best to preserve a large quantity of them so you have enough to last until the next harvest. They can also be turned into soup or dahl.
Health Benefits of Sugar Ann Peas
There are some claims that sugar ann peas are good for lowering cholesterol, but there isn’t enough evidence to either support or deny this claim. They do contain a good quantity of fiber, but the levels aren’t high enough to have a major impact on cholesterol.
They are high in vitamins and minerals, but again they won’t have a dramatic effect on your overall health. They are a good source of vitamin C and contain some B vitamins.
They are also a good source of plant based protein as well as dietary fiber.
Things to Remember
Always wear gloves when handling the peas or planting the seeds to prevent your hands becoming stained a deep purple color. The stain is harmless and can be removed using normal laundry processes.
They have natural insect repellent properties and will repel many types of insects including aphids and beetles. You can also use the natural insect repellent to protect other plants in your garden.
They grow best in temperate or subtropical zones, so if you live further north they may not grow as well or at all.
The peas should be ripe and ready for picking in 70 to 90 days. You can tell they are ready when the pod starts to wrinkle and the peas inside make a rattling sound when you shake the pods.
At this stage, the peas inside are full sized but not yet mature. This means that you can leave them on the vine to mature more and they will grow larger.
They are not related to the snow pea. In fact, the peas are so sweet that they don’t taste at all like a normal pea.
They are also known as sugar pea, mission pea and Oregon pea.
They can be grown using ordinary garden soil and need a lot of water to grow well. Make sure the plants are firmly anchored as the wind can tear them up by their roots if they aren’t properly secured.
They grow well in containers too.
Female pea plants have a longer growing season than males.
The plants can cross-pollinate with other varieties of peas, so keep them at least 30 feet away from other types of peas. The seeds may not come out the same color and may not grow in the same way.
Some can be toxic and even lethal if eaten.
Sugar Ann pea flowers are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.
They can be grown in containers or special planters to prevent the roots from invading your garden soil. They are great at preventing soil erosion, so they can be grown this way in areas that are prone to this problem.
They can also be grown on a trellis, which allows you to grow them vertically. This takes up less space and means you can grow more in the same area.
It also prevents the peas from damaging their weaker roots when they start to fall down.
If the flowers are left on the plant, they will attract beneficial insects that will help to pollinate other plants in your garden.
They are a great crop to grow if you have children as they are easy to grow and don’t need a great deal of looking after. Children will also enjoy eating the sweet tasting peas straight from the pod.
The vines can grow up to 15 feet long and will need some type of support to grow on. They can be grown on fences, trellises or poles.
You can also grow them up a tall plant such as corn.
The pea pods are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. Once the peas have been eaten, the plant will often times try to re-produce itself by seeding itself.
This means that you will get volunteer plants the following year without having to replant them.
The vines can also be cooked and eaten just like greens. The leaves are high in protein and contain more calcium than milk.
They can be eaten raw or cooked and taste similar to okra or zucchini.
They can also be dried and ground into pea flour. They don’t taste like wheat flour and have a mild flavor.
It works well as a thickener in soups or can be used to make pancakes.
All parts of the pea plant can be used to make natural dyes for clothing or wool.
The flowers are edible and can be eaten either raw or cooked. They have a sweet taste and can be added to salads or used to make wine.
The flowers can be dried and ground into a yellowish-orange dye that will dye wool or silk.
The stems can be used as kindling to start a fire.
The leaves can be dried and then boiled in water to produce a green dye for wool or leather.
The roots of the peas are not edible, so make sure you don’t plant them! They can, however, be used to make natural dyes.
You can also use them as a yellowish-brown dye for wool or leather.
In the first year of planting, poke a hole in the soil with your finger deep enough to plant the pea seed. Push the seeds into the soil with the sprout pointing upwards.
Plant one foot apart.
You will need to provide a sturdy trellis for the peas to grow up. The easy way to do this is to use wire supports and run them along each bed inside the plastic mulch.
The peas will then grow up the wire.
Once the plants start to grow, make sure they have something to clamber on as they will do this themselves if they can. If not, they will sprawl across the ground and compete with the broad bean plants for nutrients.
This will stunt their growth and reduce the yield of both crops.
You can also grow the peas with the help of friends. Plant one foot apart into the soil and allow the plants to clamber up a clothesline or netting supported by sticks.
This way they will grow up and not across, producing a higher yield.
The pea plants can be harvested as soon as the peas are big enough to pick. This allows you to eat the pods as well as harvest the peas themselves.
Once the peas have stopped producing, the plants can be killed off by cutting them off at the base. They will then act as a mulch for next years crop.
Sources & references used in this article:
Sugar-binding activity of pea lectin enhances heterologous infection of transgenic alfalfa plants by Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae by P van Rhijn, NA Fujishige, PO Lim, AM Hirsch – Plant physiology, 2001 – Am Soc Plant Biol
Diazotrophic enterobacteria: What is their role in the rhizosphere of rice by WL Barraquio, EM Segubre… – The quest for …, 2000 – books.google.com
Classroom Modified Split-Root Technique and Its Application in a Plant Habitat Selection Experiment at the College Level. by SS Elliott, PA Winter – Bioscene: Journal of College Biology Teaching, 2011 – ERIC
Important antinutrients in plant feedstuffs for aquaculture: an update on recent findings regarding responses in salmonids by Å Krogdahl, M Penn, J Thorsen, S Refstie… – Aquaculture …, 2010 – Wiley Online Library
Symbiotic N2 fixation activity in relation to C economy of Pisum sativum L. as a function of plant phenology by AS Voisin, C Salon, C Jeudy… – Journal of experimental …, 2003 – academic.oup.com