Sweet peas belong to the legume family and originally come from the Near East, they include around 100 species. Like other types of peas, sweet peas are among the oldest cultivated plants and, due to their high protein content, have been an important source of food since ancient times.
Sweet peas are harvested before they are fully ripe and, in contrast to shell peas and pith peas, do not have a parchment layer. Therefore, the whole pods can be eaten.
Peas are also a good preculture for heavy feeders. They supply the soil with nutrients via nodule bacteria on the roots, which convert nitrogen from the air into soil-available nitrogen.
Sweet peas are also called snow peas. The name has historical origins 1433 in England. In that year, a court ruling stipulated that one had to be of nobility in order to be allowed to eat snow peas at all.