Key Difference: Beans are pods or seeds of large plant from the several genera of the family Fabaceae (also known as Leguminosae). Though according to the English language, ‘bean’ also refers to some other seeds or organs (pods), which make a similitude with leguminasae seeds or pods. Peas are a type of beans and the name is most commonly used to refer to the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Peapods are botanically considered as a fruit, but are most commonly considered as vegetables in cooking.
The definition of beans and peas can vary depending on the region and dialect, creating a lot of confusion in distinguishing one from the other. Beans and peas in some countries, such as India, are also known as dal. Though they may seem the same, they have some distinct differences between them.
Beans are pods or seeds of large plant from the several genera of the family Fabaceae (also known as Leguminosae). Though according to the English language, ‘bean’ also refers to some other seeds or organs (pods), which make a similitude with leguminasae seeds or pods. These are most commonly referred to as pulse crops, while peas are a part of beans. While some beans can be similar to legume seeds, such as coffee beans, cocoa beans and castor beans; other beans come in form of legume pods, such as vanilla pods.
Though originally the term bean would only refer to seed of the broad or fava bean, it has now been expanded to include members of the plant genus Phaseolus vulgaris, such as the common bean and the runner bean, and the related genus Vigna. It also includes soybeans, peas, chickpeas (garbanzos), vetches, and lupins. Beans, like all leguminasae plants get their nitrogen requirement through self-fixation with the help of rhyzobium bacteria located in the root nodules. Beans grow in either pole form, where you require something to hold up the vines, or in bush form.
There are more than 40,000 varieties of beans that have been noted, though for regular consumption only a few types are mass-produced. Beans are summer crops and require warm temperatures to grow and typically mature in 50-60 days from planting. As they mature they yellow and dry up, while the beans inside change their color from green to their mature color. Beans are known be high in fiber and soluble fiber, which can help blood cholesterol; they are also high in protein, complex carbohydrates, iron and folate. Beans are also known to produce flatulence in humans due to containing oligosaccharides, which produces gas a by-product of being digested.
Peas are a type of beans and the name is most commonly used to refer to the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Peapods are botanically considered as a fruit, but are most commonly considered as vegetables in cooking. The term peas are 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.
Peas are cold season crops and are available in tall or dwarf varieties. Peas most commonly grow on vines, which resemble a coil in structure and will wrap around any structure or trellis for support. P. sativum is an annual plant and has a life cycle of one year. It can be planted from winter to early summer depending on location. Peas are usually sown deep (30 to 40 mm) either in double or narrowed rows and can reach up to 450 to 1,500 mm in height. An average pea weighs between 0.1 and 0.36 grams. Peas are available fresh, in pods, canned as well as frozen, which can make it accessible year round. Some peas known as field peas are grown to produce dry peas like the split pea shelled from the matured pod. Peas are high in fiber, minerals, protein, lutein and vitamins.
Beans and peas are similar as they both are pulse crops and belong to the same leguminasea family. They have similar botanical features and have varieties such as climbing and dwarf. Both the beans and peas are high in fibers, protein, and include tanning and phytic acid as anti-nutritional factors. Both plants produce using self-pollination and can be used as biological fuels, green manure, and rhyzobium bio fertilizer.
While, beans and peas are part of the same family, they differ from each other in many features. A distinct difference between the two is growth patterns; while peas vines have tendrils which it uses for support, the beans lack this and either twine themselves over their support or require external systems of support . The two also have different stem characteristics; the peas have hollowed stems while beans possess more solid ones.
Image Courtesy: foods-healing-power.com, cherrygal.com