The skin (seed coat) of the peas is a light yellow. Inside, the peas are a darker yellow, though the colour fades when cooked. They are slightly larger than green peas. While a green pea will be 7.5 to 8.5 mm wide, a Yellow Pea will be 8 to 9 mm wide.
Yellow Pea varieties grown in North America for human consumption include Belinda, Century, Impala, Lenca, Miranda, Paloma, Renata, Tipu and Victoria. A variety called “Procon” is used for animal feed; the variety called “Trapper” is grown as feed for birds.
The flavour of Yellow Peas is grainier, milder and less sharply vegetable tasting than the flavour of green peas, because Yellow Peas have less chlorophyll in them. Yellow Peas are also quicker to lose their shape when being cooked than green peas.
Yellow Peas are popular in Nordic countries for soups.
Yellow Peas are used in India as well, though they don’t really grow any great amounts there and import most of them. Yellow Peas are not the same as the legume called “Chana Dal”, though you can use Yellow Peas as a perfectly acceptable substitute for Chana Dal.
Yellow Peas can be bought whole or split in half along the seam down their middle. When the peas are split, the seedcoat and the “embryos” inside the seeds are also removed. (The discarded parts of the peas are then sold as animal feed.) Split ones cook slightly faster than the whole ones. Unless specified in a recipe, “Yellow Peas” probably means the whole ones. The whole ones are sometimes called for in order to give a soup or dish less of a smooth texture, and therefore more “mouth feel”, than would the split ones.
Don’t need to be soaked before using. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
1 pound (450g) Whole Yellow Peas = 2 cups
Gregor Mendel used Yellow Peas in his genetic inheritance experiments. He found that when crossing green and Yellow Peas, the first generation of offspring was always yellow. Green would reappear in the next generation, at a ratio of 1 green pea for every 3 Yellow Peas.