|Snow pea on the plant|
P. sativum var. saccharatum
|Pisum sativum var. saccharatum|
The snow pea (Pisum sativum var. saccharatum) is a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe. The name mangetout (French for "eat all") can apply both to snow peas and to snap peas. This vegetable (fruit) has been cultivated since the 19th century in Europe.
Snow peas, along with sugar snap peas and unlike field and garden peas, are notable for having edible pods that lack inedible fiber (in the form of "parchment", a fibrous layer found in the inner pod rich in lignin) in the pod walls. Snow peas have the thinner walls of the two edible pod variants. Two recessive genes known as p and v are responsible for this trait. p is responsible for reducing the schlerenchymatous membrane on the inner pod wall, while v reduces pod wall thickness (n is a gene that thickens pod walls in snap peas).
The stems and leaves of the immature plant are used as a vegetable in Chinese cooking, stir-fried with garlic and sometimes combined with crab or other shellfish.
Snow peas (Pisum sativum)
|Nutritional value per 100g|
|Energy||176 kJ (42 kcal)|
|Vitamin A equiv.|
|Vitamin A||1087 IU|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
As nitrogen fixers
As with most legumes, snow peas host beneficial bacteria, rhizobia, in their root nodules, which fix nitrogen in the soil—this is called a mutualistic relationship—and are therefore a useful companion plant, especially useful to grow intercropped with green, leafy vegetables that benefit from high nitrogen content in their soil.
Cultivation and storage
Storage of the pea with films of polymethylpentene at a temperature of 5 °C and a concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide of 5 kPa augments the shelf life, internal and external characteristics of the plant.
Austrian scientist and monk Gregor Mendel used peas which he called Pisum saccharatum in his famous experiments demonstrating the heritable nature of specific traits, though this Latin name might not refer to the same varieties identified with modern snow peas.
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