Produce Spotlight on Peas
Peas are full of nutrients that our bodies need, like vitamins C and K, folate, and fiber. Peas prefer to grow in cooler temperatures and are the best quality in Massachusetts in the spring and fall.
Shopping for Peas
Select peas that are bright green and look fresh. Choose medium-sized firm pea pods; avoid soft and wilted pods. Depending on the type of pea, choose pods that are either slightly round or flat.
Garden/English Peas – known as “shelling peas” because the pods are not edible; round, sometimes wrinkled, green peas with sweet flavor; good for freezing.
Snow Peas – edible, flat, and tender light green pods holding small peas; sweet flavor.
Sugar Snap Peas – cross between a garden and snow pea; edible, rounded, and bright green pods with tender peas inside; very sweet flavor.
Storage and Preparation
- Sugar snap peas can be shelled and the individual peas inside cooked, or they can be eaten whole, with the shell on.
- Store peas in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a plastic bag. For best quality, use within 3 days after buying.
- Wash sugar snap peas under cool running water and pat dry before use.
- Before cooking, trim snap peas by snapping off the stem and slowly peeling the thick string down the shell.
- To freeze, blanch, cool, and drain peas. Place in labeled freezer bags and freeze for up to 5 months.
- Serve sugar snap or snow peas raw with hummus or dips.
- Add whole or thinly sliced peas to a salad.
- Sauté snow peas and snap peas with olive oil, salt, and garlic or add them to a stir-fry.
1 pound sugar snap or snow peas = 4½ cups (in pieces) = about 4½ servings
1 pound English or garden unshelled peas = ½ pound shelled peas = 1¼ cups
Using Locally Grown Produce
Visit the UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program’s website featuring recipes using fruits and vegetables. To locate places to buy local produce, visit www.mass.gov/massgrown.