Dried peas are the mature seeds of the pea plant, and are much higher in starch than fresh, young peas. This makes dried peas ideal for hearty dishes and long cooking. Here are some of the common varieties of dried peas:
- Black-eyed peas (cowpeas, black-eyed beans): Marked by a single black spot on their skin, these kidney-shaped, creamy-white legumes have a pea-like flavor and firm, resilient texture.
- Chickpeas: Also called garbanzos, chickpeas have become a staple in American households because they are the key ingredients in hummus. They are round, cream-colored legumes also used in salads and soups.
- Green peas: Dried green peas come whole as well as split. The whole peas taste like split green peas, but they take quite a bit longer to cook because they have their skins on, which also gives them more fiber.
- Pigeon peas (gunga peas, no-eyed peas): These yellowish-gray peas are about the size of a green pea, but are generally sold split.
- Split peas: Once peas are dried and their skins removed, they split apart naturally. Green split peas are favored in the United States and Great Britain, while yellow split peas, which have a more pronounced nutlike flavor, are preferred in Scandinavia and other regions of northern Europe. Neither type requires presoaking, and both cook quickly.
Published August 12, 2015