Peas Starch Native
pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the legume Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Although it is botanically a fruit, it is treated as a vegetable in cooking. The name is also used to describe other edible seeds from the Fabaceae such as the pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan), the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), and the seeds from several species of Lathyrus. P. sativum is an annual plant, with a life cycle of one year. It is a cool season crop grown in many parts of the world; planting can take place from winter through to early summer depending on location. The average pea weighs between 0.1 and 0.36 grams. The species is used as a vegetable â€“ fresh, frozen or canned, and is also grown to produce dry peas like the split pea. These varieties are typically called field peas. The wild pea is restricted to the Mediterranean basin and the Near East. The earliest archaeological finds of peas come from Neolithic Syria, Turkey and Jordan. In Egypt, early finds date from ca. 4800â€“4400 BC in the Nile delta area, and from ca. 3800â€“3600 BC in Upper Egypt. The pea was also present in Georgia in the 5th millennium BC. Farther east, the finds are younger. Peas were present in Afghanistan ca. 2000 BC, in Harappa, Pakistan, and in north-west India in 2250â€“1750 BC. In the second half of the 2nd millennium BC this pulse crop appears in the Gangetic basin and southern India. Starch or amylum is a polysaccharide carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. Starch is produced by all green plants as an energy store. It is the most important carbohydrate in the human diet and is contained in such staple foods as rice, wheat, maize (corn), potatoes and cassava. Pure starch is a white, tasteless and odorless powder that is insoluble in cold water or alcohol. It consists of two types of molecules: the linear and helical amylose and the branched amylopectin. Depending on the plant, starch generally contains 20 to 25% amylose and 75 to 80% amylopectin. Glycogen, the glucose store of animals, is a more branched version of amylopectin. Starch can be used as a thickening, stiffening or gluing agent when dissolved in warm water, giving wheatpaste.