Difference between Peas and Beans

By: | Updated: Dec-5, 2017

With so much talk about food, health food, and a balanced diet, you need to get your facts straight about what is what and why you should eat it. This being said, do you know the difference between peas and beans? Do you think they both come in a pod? Think again. Then read this article.

Summary Table

Are greenAre white, brown, black, red, and combinations of these colors
Are small and sphericalAre bigger and kidney-shaped
Are sold fresh, frozen, or cannedAre sold dried, canned, or pre-cooked
Cultivated in the cool seasonCultivated in the warm season
Contain fiber, vitamins, and mineralsContain fiber and proteins; their consumption causes flatulence on account of the oligosaccharrides


Peas in a pod
Peas in a pod

Peas are part of the Pisum genus, the sativum species, and the Fabaceae family (formerly known as the Leguminosae family). Although generally considered vegetables, peas are actually a fruit because they are the seeds of pods that are developed by the ovary of the flower. The life cycle is one year and the plant is cultivated during the cool season. There are many varieties of peas in the world, each of them with their own growth period, varying from 55 to 70 days.

The common pea is green, small in diameter and spherical in shape, and it represents the edible part of the plant. It is sold fresh, frozen, or canned. With numerous culinary uses, the pea is a common food ingredient in many countries all over the world.

As far as nutritional value goes, peas are high in fiber and vitamins A, B6, C, and K. They are starchy, yet they contain important minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus, as well as lutein (good for the eyes).

Kidney beans
Kidney beans

Beans are the seeds of plants of the Fabaceae family. They don’t fall in the fruit or vegetable categories but are considered legumes. The plant they grow on is a vine that needs support. This is why cages or poles are used by farmers. This is a warm-weather plant that needs to be cultivated in the summer and typically takes 50-60 days to grow.

Beans are kidney-shaped and they come in a variety of color combinations, white and brown being the most common ones. They are sold dry, canned, or pre-cooked.

There are over 40,000 types of beans in the world, but only some of them are in the mass-production circuit. Beans have been cultivated in all parts of the world where the weather allowed it. They were used both as human food and animal feed.

Nutritionally speaking, beans are high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and protein. They also contain oligosaccharides, for the digestion of which the human body does not have the necessary enzymes. Therefore, in the lack of these enzones, digestion happens with the help of bacteria from the intestine, a process that results in a byproduct we call gas. This is why beans cause flatulence.

Peas vs Beans

So what is the difference between peas and beans?

Peas differ in many ways from beans. They may both be the seeds of plants in the Fabaceae family and they may grow in pods, but they differ in look, taste, and even cultivation period.

Peas are small, spherical, and green, whereas beans are kidney shaped, white, brown, black, red, or combinations of all the above – and larger in size. Peas can be consumed fresh, while raw beans may contain a harmful toxin that causes food poisoning. In some cases, not even boiling will suffice. There is not enough information in the medical word about bean food poisoning, so the best way to eat beans is to cook the dried seeds.

They are both high in fiber, but peas also contain vitamins and minerals, while beans are rich in protein. Also, of the two, beans are the ones with the flatulence-causing oligosaccharides.

Another notable difference consists of the fact that peas are cold weather plants, whereas beans thrive in warm weather.

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