In England, pea seeds became an absolute staple, and plant breeders developed several genetic lines to bring out sweetness, or to enhance their other characteristics. Some cultivars were developed as shelling pea seeds, which are removed from the pod prior to eating, and others were grown as snap peas, for pods that are eaten whole, with the immature peas still inside. The French term for snap peas is mange-touts, or “eat it all.” Eventually the popularity of peas spread to North America, where breeding continued. Thomas Jefferson grew as many as 30 different pea varieties on his estate at Monticello!
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