Are frozen peas safe to eat without cooking?

In this article, we will answer the question “Are frozen peas safe to eat without cooking?”, how are peas blanched, what happens if you eat frozen peas without heating them first, what is the verdict about home-grown peas, how to microwave frozen peas, and how to freeze fresh peas.

Are frozen peas safe to eat without cooking?

Generally, frozen peas are safe to eat without cooking with a minor risk attached. We suggest heating the frozen peas in an oven, or microwave or dumping them in hot water for about a minute before eating them. 

This should be enough to kill the vegetative forms of pathogenic bacteria that may have grown in the peas during freezing. 

Note that the frozen peas are partially cooked before freezing, and packing. Moreover, the processing stages of peas have set control points to keep the supply chain safe from bacterial contamination. 

The most notorious of these pathogens is Listeria monocytogenes. This bacteria thrives at freezing temperatures. 

To avoid the contamination of peas with bacteria, processors strictly adhere to food safety practices, safe temperature heating, and cleaning and sanitation of the equipment. 

There may be a multitude of reasons behind how the peas get contaminated with Listeria before freezing. Even if the contamination is small, the bacteria quickly form colonies during freezing until they grow to dangerous numbers.

How are Peas blanched?

After harvesting, peas are sorted according to their physical parameters such as size, shape, color, weight, etc. Then the peas are blanched at a specific temperature for a specific time.

This particular time and temperature combination is determined by the size of the peas.in simple words, blanching is the dumping of the peas in hot water for some time. 

The hot water helps inactivate certain enzymes in peas whilst killing the vegetative forms of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. Just like pickling, canning, salting, cooling, etc, blanching is a preservation technique. 

However, unlike some preservation methods such as canning, blanching keeps the organoleptic and nutritional properties of the peas intact.

What happens if you eat frozen peas without cooking or heating them first?

You may acquire a foodborne illness, most probably, listeriosis, if you eat frozen peas without cooking or heating them first. 

The risk of developing the disease differs from person to person. Some people categorized as ‘Immunocompromised’ may experience a severe form of listeriosis. 

This category includes pregnant women, children, older people, and those with chronic diseases such as AIDS.

What is the verdict about homegrown peas?

With the store-bought blanched, frozen, and packaged peas, the risk of spreading a foodborne illness is small. But the same cannot be said for homegrown peas. There is a high probability that your homegrown peas may have picked Listeria from the soil.

The best way to go about safely eating homegrown peas is by heating them to at least 165°F or 74°C. This threshold temperature limit has been set by experts and sticking to it will ensure that you are eating safe and nutritious peas harvested straight out of your kitchen garden.

This temperature can be achieved by cooking peas by roasting them, steaming, frying, baking, or broiling them.

How to microwave frozen peas?

Microwaving frozen peas is as simple as it gets. First of all, you need to let the peas defrost in the fridge overnight. Rinsing the thawed peas is optional but advisable. Put the thawed and rinsed peas in a microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave the peas for up to 3 minutes or until they are heated throughout. Check the peas for doneness after regular intervals of 30 seconds to make sure the peas do not burn. Toss the cooked peas in some olive oil, salt, and pepper, plate, and serve. 

How to freeze fresh green peas?

Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf-life of peas. Correctly stored and refrigerated peas last up to 5 days only. Whereas, correctly frozen peas stay fresh for several weeks or even months. However, the sooner you finish your frozen peas, the better they taste.

  1. Start by removing the peas from their jackets.
  1. Fill a saucepan with water. Stir in 1-2 tbsp salt or sugar and bring the water to a boil.
  1. Immerse the peas in the hot water for up to 2 minutes.
  1. Then sieve the peas and lower the sieve into an ice-cold water bath. This will halt the cooking process right then and there.
  1. Let the peas stay in the cold water for at least 1 minute.
  1. Then spread the peas in a baking tray, flash-freeze them, and put them in a freezer bag. Put a label on the bag so you can keep track of the shelf life of peas. 

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question “Are frozen peas safe to eat without cooking?”, how are peas blanched, what happens if you eat frozen peas without heating them first, what is the verdict about home-grown peas, how to microwave frozen peas, and how to freeze fresh peas.

References 

http://ecoursesonline.iasri.res.in/mod/page/view.php?id=795#:~:text=Sorting%3A%20Sorting%20is%20the%20separation,%2C%20shape%2C%20weight%20and%20color 

https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/how-to-store-green-peas-for-a-longer-time-step-by-step-process-2773450

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