Peas are an annual plant, preferring cooler conditions for growth, which makes places like Alberta an ideal location for their cultivation. They come in several varieties, including green garden peas, snap peas, and snow peas. Their roots have nodules that contain bacteria capable of converting atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use, making peas beneficial for soil health.

In Alberta, the temperate climate allows for the successful cultivation of peas, making them one of the primary crops in the province's agricultural output. They are usually sown in early spring and harvested in late summer. Beyond their culinary use, peas also serve as an excellent cover crop, enhancing soil fertility and preventing erosion.


Peas have an ancient history, with archaeological evidence suggesting they were consumed thousands of years ago in regions spanning from the Mediterranean to Asia. Their easy cultivation and storage, especially in dried form, contributed to their spread and adoption across various cultures and cuisines.

In Canada, and notably in Alberta, peas have been cultivated for several centuries. Indigenous peoples have their methods of incorporating wild pea varieties into their diets. With European colonization, cultivated varieties of peas became more prevalent. Over time, Alberta, with its vast agricultural lands, became a significant producer of peas, both for domestic consumption and export.

Ways To Cook

The humble pea is incredibly versatile in culinary applications:

  1. Fresh Peas: Young peas can be shelled and boiled or steamed, served as a side dish with butter or seasoning.
  2. Pea Soup: Dried split peas, typically yellow or green, are a foundation for hearty soups.
  3. Mushy Peas: A British favorite, this dish involves cooking peas until soft and then mashing them.
  4. Stir-fries: Snow peas and snap peas are delicious additions to stir-fry dishes.
  5. Salads: Fresh or cooked peas provide a sweet crunch to various salads.
  6. Purees: Pea purees, sometimes with added herbs, serve as a base for many dishes.
  7. Pea Shoots: The young tendrils of pea plants, these are edible and can be used in salads or lightly sautéed.
  8. Frozen Peas: A kitchen staple in many homes, they are blanched and frozen at peak freshness and can be used in numerous recipes.
  9. Pea Risotto: Creamy rice dishes can be enriched with the addition of green peas.
  10. Snacks: Roasted peas can serve as a crunchy, nutritious snack.

Whether fresh, dried, or frozen, peas have proven their worth in kitchens worldwide, and their cultivation in regions like Alberta ensures their continued popularity and significance in global foodways.