Everything You Need to Know About Snap Peas
Snap peas are a delicious combination of garden peas and snow peas; tender enough to eat whole with a tasty crunch, and are great served raw or lightly cooked. They are also an easy snack solution, perfect for health conscious foodies and kids alike.
Most snap peas sold in stores aren’t labeled by variety but different varieties of snap peas do exist. Differences are mainly based on how they are grown. For example, there are dwarf or bush snap peas, tall climbers with vines, and stringless snap peas. The most common varieties include Sugar Ann, Super Sugar Snap, and Cascadia snap peas, which vary respectively in size, sweetness, and whether or not they have strings.
Select snap peas that are vibrant and green. They should be firm and free of blemishes. They’re typically sold prepackaged, but you may also find them loose, in bulk.
Snap peas are best consumed within a few days of purchase. To keep them fresh, store unwashed peas in a perforated plastic bag (or the original bag in which they were bought), in the vegetable crisper of your fridge. Enjoy within 3-5 days.
Wash snap peas well under cool, running water. Some varieties of snap peas have a tough end with strings. To remove this, simply use a paring knife to trim both ends and pull off the string. There are stringless varieties of snap peas as well, so you won’t always need to do this.
Leave whole or cut into smaller, 1-inch pieces that are easier to eat in stir-fries or salad bowls.
Snap peas are delicious raw, sautéed, steamed, blanched, roasted, or even grilled! Cooking times vary depending on the texture you prefer. For tender crisp snap peas, cook for 3-5 minutes. Cooking snap peas longer than this won’t affect the flavour but they will be softer and the colour will be less vibrant.
How to Freeze
Freezing snap peas when they are in season is a great way to stock up on fresh produce while it’s at its peak. First start by washing the peas well in cool water. Trim the ends and strings if needed. Prepare an ice bath while you set a large pot to boil. Blanch the snap peas in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until peas turn bright green. Drain and plunge immediately in ice bath to halt cooking process.
Transfer to a large baking sheet and lay flat to flash freeze in the freezer. Transfer frozen snap peas to an airtight container and use within 10-12 months.
The Difference Between
Ever wonder what the differences are between garden peas, snow peas, and sugar snap peas? You’re not the only one!
These are peas you typically see canned or in the frozen section. They are also more commonly found in farmers markets. Garden peas are typically 3-4 inches long and have tough pods that aren’t recommended for eating. However, these pods contain sweet, tender peas, which are perfect for adding to stir fries and soups, cooked on their own as a simple side dish or even eaten raw in a salad. Smaller, even more tender garden peas are often known as petite pois.
Snow peas are flat with small peas inside. They are tender and unlike the garden pea, the entire vegetable is enjoyable to eat. Two to three inches in length, they’re ends are commonly trimmed and then they are used whole in stir-fries or blanched with some butter. They are also delicious eaten raw as a snack or added to a salad or vegetable tray.
Sugar Snap Peas:
Snap peas are a cross between garden peas and snow peas! That’s how they get their tender crisp outer pods, and sweet inner peas. Some snap pea varieties are stringless like snow peas, while others may need some trimming before they are ready to eat. Like snow peas, they are enjoyed raw or lightly cooked in a variety of dishes.
- For faster trimming, arrange a handful of peas and cut off their tips in one slice! Flip them around to cut the other side. This should speed up your prep time!
- If you need a convenient snack, snap peas are a great choice, especially stringless ones! Many are stringless and require no prep – they can be eaten raw on the go!
- Snap peas are an easy addition to any healthy lunch—check out our video for quick and easy lunch ideas with snap peas!
- Save time by prepping small baggies of washed and trimmed snap peas in advance for a grab-and-go snack.
- Try grilling some snap peas for a delicious charred flavour!
- Think outside the pizza box and add snap peas to your pizza pie. The Roaming Kitchen sautés them briefly in olive oil before adding to pizza and her hand made pizza looks divine!
Herbs & Spices: mint, garlic, olive oil, ginger, basil, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, dill, sesame seeds, curry, and black pepper
Dairy: hard cheeses like Romano or Parmesan, ricotta cheese, fontina, cream, and butter
Savoury: polenta, grains like barley, bulgur, millet, or farro, quinoa, walnuts, shrimp, bacon, pork, chicken, eggs, rice, walnuts, almonds, noodles like semolina pasta, soba or egg/rice noodles
Produce: asparagus, leek, onion, lemon, scallions, shallot, radish, bok choy, edamame, kale, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, and carrot
Add snap peas to your roster of easy after school snacks. Some kids will like to dip it, but some others will just eat them up naturally! Prep them for school ahead of time in grab-and-go baggies and packed lunches will be a breeze! For more easy lunch ideas, check out our video for quick and easy lunch ideas with snap peas.
Snap peas are so versatile, they can be added to so many of your favourite everyday dishes. Enjoy it with some pasta, scallops, olive oil, and cheese, or forego the pasta and opt for some zucchini noodles and bocconcini cheese instead! You could also try this snap pea parmigiano or snap pea gratin—both are very simple recipes that take less than half an hour from prep to serving!
Add some extra flavour and fire things up a little bit with some grilled sugar snap peas. The gorgeous char marks add an irresistible flavour to these sweet, crunchy veggies.
Lemon and snap peas are a match made in heaven. The lemon flavour brightens the entire dish and are a surefire hit during your next dinner. Or perhaps go for something Asian-inspired and try this snap peas and mushroom dish.
Or keep it simple with some garlic snap peas. Savour the tender crisp sweetness of snap peas and add some garlic, salt and pepper to really let it shine.