Green Garden Pea

Pisum sativum var. sativum

Also called Green Pea, Green Garden Pea or English pea.

PHOTO By Bill Ebbesen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The green garden pea (Pisum sativum var. sativum) is a cool-season annual crop grown in many parts of the world for its immature green seeds.

In the tropics it grows well in cooler, high altitude areas.

The seeds that can be eaten fresh, either raw, or lightly cooked. They can also be frozen or canned

Green Garden Pea Cultivars

In general garden peas can be divided into low-growing and vining (climbing) cultivars.

Many cultivars reach maturity in about 60 days after planting and are harvested when the peas are still green and sweet. The pods are tough and are not palatable.

There are numerous pea cultivars grown for specific markets. Some cultivars are smaller and sweeter and others a larger and starchier depending on the intended end use.

Some cultivars are grown specifically for freezing or canning and others are grown to be eaten fresh.

The cultivar ‘Sweet Baby Peas’ ( Petit Pois Sucreés), french for sweet little peas, are tiny and sweet.

Canned and Frozen Peas

Only 5% or all the green peas grown are sold fresh, more than half of the crop is canned and most of the rest is frozen. (The Wellness Encyclopedia)

Frozen peas retain their colour, flavour and nutrients better than canned and are low in sodium. Most canned peas have added salt and sugar (The Wellness Encyclopedia).


  • Green peas are second only to lima beans as a fresh vegetable source of protein.(The Wellness Encyclopedia)
  • Green Peas are high in fibre, vitamins and important minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.

Culinary Use

  • Freshly harvested sweet peas are eaten raw in salads or lightly cooked.
  • Frozen peas can be thawed and used raw in salads and uncooked dishes.
  • The young shoots taste like fresh peas, are exceptionally tender and can be used in salads.
  • In India, fresh peas are used in cooking Aloo Matar (curried potatoes with peas) or Matar Paneer (paneer cheese with peas). Frozen peas can also be used.


  • 500g (1 Ib) of green peas in pods yields about 1 cup.
  • Rinse and shell the peas just before cooking.
  • Fresh peas are best better eaten fresh.

Point to Note

The name “peas” can be very confusing because it is also used to describe other edible seeds from leguminous plants such as chickpea (Cicer arietinum), pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) and cowpea (black eyed pea) (Vigna unguiculata).

Botanical Notes:

Pisum Sativum (Pea)

Grown for green immature seeds sold as sweet garden peas

  • Pisum sativum var. sativum (Also called Green Pea, Green Garden Pea or English pea)

Grown for Mature Dried Seeds (pulse)

  • Pisum sativum var. arvense (L.) Poiret (Field Pea, Canadian field pea (spring pea), dun (grey-brown) pea, Kapucijner pea, matar dal, or Austrian winter pea (black pea)
  • Whole peas split to produce: yellow split pea and Green Split pea.

Grown for immature edible pods:

  • Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon: Sugar snap pea or snap pea
  • Pisum sativum var. saccharatum: Snow pea, Sugar Peas, Mangetout or Chinese Pea Pods. Last Updated: May 10, 2018

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

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