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Don’t worry, pea happy! It’s pea and bean week at Big Barn!

While we can enjoy fresh peas and beans through the summer, especially if you’re into growing your own, then we get to enjoy them through the rest of the year as ‘pulses’ or dried peas and beans for the whole year. They’re brilliant foods for a whole variety of reasons, including the fact they’re high in protein and nutrients and it’s a true shame that thousands of acres of these foods are farm for these goods in the UK, then a high percentage, exported.

While British consumption is on the up with the growing popularity of Asian-style cooking and through popular cookbooks like Jamie’s recipes. It’s also brilliant to see local producers, like our friends Hodmedods, winning The BBC Food Programme awards in recent years to keep pushing their popularity. While we have people like these taking British beans and peas and making them even better these foods need to be celebrated.

Tasty British beans

As always, no food week at Big Barn is complete without some great facts about the foods! So, did you know:

1. Peas are one of the few vegetables that are better eaten from frozen. The advert on TV is true, peas do deteriorate when picked, so harvested and frozen quickly seals in the goodness.

2. Beans and peas are pod-bearing plants that belong to the legume family, their pods range from two to eight inches long and what we eat are the seeds.

3. The majority of the 20,000 species of legume are poisonous.

4. Beans are widely consumed by vegetarian because of they are rich in the kinds of proteins found in meat.

Delicious stew with beans

5. Broad beans contain up to 25 percent protein as opposed to only 1.5 percent fat. They also contain large amounts of carbohydrates and some Vitamin C.

6. Every hour 35 tons of baked beans are eaten in Britain.

7. Pulses and legumes have the unique ability to fix nitrogen and so increase the fertility of the soil as they grow. So a great winter crop for the veg patch

8. The Borlotti is the most popular bean of northern Italy and with a high iron content it is widely thought of as the best substitute for meat.

If that’s convinced you to get stuck in to beans and peas then start planning to grow your own for snacking and meals for next year! If you’re thinking of just trying something a bit different for a snack, then we’d whole-heartedly recommend roasted peas and Horseradish? Tastier and healthier than crisps and we think every pub should stock them. If you’re looking for something easier, try just adding British fava beans to a stew or soup!

We have great food in this land and should love, and eat more of, our beans and peas.

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