English Peas and Sugar Snap Peas
Nothing says spring like fresh English and Sugar Snap peas. English Peas are also called Pod Peas, Garden Peas or Shelling Peas. The waxy fibrous pod is not edible and must be shelled. Snap off one end of the pod, unzip both sides and then shuck the peas into a bowl. They are best eaten right out of the shell or lightly cooked.
Choose peas that are shiny and firm with brightly-colored pods that feel swollen and heavy. They should be eaten soon after buying because they lose their sweet taste and nutritional value quickly. English peas are low in fat and calories but rich in protein. They can keep for up to five days when stored in a paper bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator. One pound of peas will only yield about 1 cup of shelled peas so buy more than you think you will need. I like mixing lightly steamed peas and asparagus with fresh thyme from my front porch, olive oil, salt and pepper. Simply delicious.
Plump Sugar Snap Peas are completely edible but they do have a membranous string running along the top of the pod that should be removed before eating, in a process called “stringing.” Sugar Snap Peas have a satisfying crunch and can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. The trick is to not overcook them or they will become mushy. Blanch them for 30 seconds and then stir fry just long enough to heat them up until they turn a bright glossy green. This helps to retain the crispness and the sweet flavor.
Sugar Snap Peas are best when the pod begins to thicken a little, but before the peas grow large. When they are ready to be picked, the pods will snap much like a bean. Look for fat and full pods with a uniform green color. Store then in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator and cook as soon as possible.
Earl’s California English Peas and Sugar Snap Peas are coming from various growers including T.D.Willey Farms in Madera, Tutti Frutti in Santa Barbara County and Las Hermanas in Hollister. Tom and Denesse Willey follow the four seasons of the mild Mediterranean climate to produce a year-round palette of bountiful vegetable production. Chris Cadwell from Tutti Frutti Farms has been growing organically for over 25 years and he suggests eating English Peas simply raw. Las Hermanas is a relatively new grower for Earl’s. They are a family run farm and grow a variety of vegetables year round. For more information on the growers we source from please check out our growers map on our website.