Featured Vegetable: Snap Peas and Snow Peas
Pass the Peas, Please!
Peek Inside and Out: Explore Peas & Pods
Did you know that peas date back as far as 10,000 years? It’s true – they originated in the Near East and eventually made their way to North America by pioneers traveling west. There are two main types of peas: green peas (that are shelled) and edible-pod peas (that we eat the pea plus the pod). Snap peas and snow peas are two varieties of edible-pod peas that, while similar, have unique features and attributes. Sugar snap peas are a hybrid of green and snow peas that create a variety with full-sized peas that are sweeter.1 Snap peas are more round compared to snow peas that are flatter.
The Produce Aisle and Beyond
The majority of peas sold are canned or frozen. A mere 5% of all peas grown are sold fresh, and most of these are snap peas and snow peas.2 Support a local farmers market or take to your garden and plant your own. Nothing compares to the fresh taste of homegrown veggies. Explore Cascadia, Snappy, Sugar Ann, Sugar Daddy, and Sugar snap pea varieties, and snow peas too, if climate and time permits!
Picking the Perfect Peas
When choosing your edible-pod peas, keep in mind that smaller pods are typically more sweet and tender. Plan to eat the smaller ones raw and save the larger ones for cooked recipes. They will keep in the refrigerator, but are best consumed within a few days.3 Frozen peas are a great option when you don’t plan to use them right away. Take the guesswork out of what veggies pair well with snap or snow peas and purchase a vegetable blend. Next, browse recipes and when one catches your eye, you will be one step ahead!
Snap peas and snow peas are a nutritious addition to any meal or snack. One-half cup of cooked, edible-pod peas is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K in addition to being a good source of vitamin A. These peas also provide more than two grams of fiber that can help fill you up for only about 34 calories. What a deliciously satisfying option to help you manage your weight!
Get Snapping in the Kitchen
Snap and snow peas add a unique flavor, texture and visual appeal to many dishes. Keep in mind, many snap peas and snow peas require “stringing” – the removal of a thread-like membrane that runs the length of the pod. Snap or cut the tip to start and pull off the string from there.
Switch up your salad routine and take advantage of these seasonal veggies. Try a new after school snack idea. Set up a snap-n-snow pea dip station with different flavor-packed dips like Picante Black Bean Hummus, Salsa Ranch Dip and Ginger Berry Dip. Have the kids choose their favorite dip to pair with snap or snow peas. Pack a punch of veggie power to your next pasta dish with these crunchy additions. Remember to toss some snow peas, also referred to as Chinese pea pods, into your next stir-fry. Visit Fruits & Veggies More Matters® for more creative and delicious ways to enjoy snow peas. Experiment, taste, enjoy!
1 http://www.harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/download/Spring/Peas/pea_edu_2.pdf Harvest of the Month Peas. Accessed March 7th, 2013.
2 http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/sugar-snap-peas-nutrition-selection-storage Sugar Snap Peas: Nutrition. Selection. Storage. Accessed March 7th, 2013.
3 http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/peas.cfm University of Illinois Extension Watch Your Garden Grow: Peas. Accessed March 8th, 2013.