The peas are getting taller and will be blossoming soon. Nothing tastes better than fresh sweet peas right out of the garden. Kids love peas this way, so if you can’t get your kids to eat peas, try our sugar snap peas that are so tender you can eat them pod and all, which is even sweeter.
When my brother and I were kids, we would pick all the peas in our Mom’s garden and eat them before they ever reached the house. She grew them specifically for eating raw, which is the best way to eat sugar snap or snow peas.
Snow peas, snap peas and garden peas are all part of the legume family, and most people are not aware of the subtle differences between them. Garden peas are the typical peas in a pod we are familiar with. Tougher and not as sweet as snow or snap peas, the pea is usually removed and eaten and the pod discarded. These are best for canning just the peas. Snow peas are the flat pea pods you see used in cooking stir fries and Chinese dishes. The pod is eaten when the peas are so tiny they are barely noticeable. They are best for cooking pods because they are picked before the pea inside develops and when the pod is the most tender. Snap peas are also known as sugar snap peas, and are a cross between snow peas and garden peas. The whole pod is eaten and has a crunchy texture and very sweet flavor. Snap peas may be eaten raw or cooked once the tough “strings” at the seams of the pods are removed. My brother and I used to call it “unzipping the peas” because you snap the tip at the end of the pod and then pull the string along the seam like a zipper.
Peas must be picked at just the right time to achieve the desired flavor you are looking for. If you wait until the pods are full and the peas inside are completely mature, you sacrifice the quality of the pod; which will not be as tender or juicy. We like to pick our sugar snap peas when they are a happy compromise between sweet peas on the inside and still crunchy, tender pods on the outside. This takes some experience in knowing just how they should look when ready for picking and not to let them go to long without picking.
Peas are also best when picked first thing in the morning when they are still cold from the cool night air. This is when they will have the most flavor, be the most juicy and have the most “snap”.
The best way to cook snap or sugar peas in the pod is to steam them or stir fry them on low with a little water until tender, then melt butter on them and maybe some diced onion, chives or garlic. Enjoy!
By the way, we call ours “sugar snap peas”, and they are almost ready for home delivery or CSA pickup. I would say they will start to blossom in about 2 more weeks and we should start having peas by around mid July. Watch for us to change their status to “in stock” on our website.