Enjoy the sweet crunch of sugar snap peas

A cutting board with stacks of carrots, sugar snap peas, and a bowl of cucumbers. Contains blue I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.
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Sugar snap peas hold true to their name; they are both sweet and crunchy. Sugar snap peas are members of the legume family. While all beans, including peas, grow in pods, sugar snap peas do not naturally split open when ripe. They are harvested when their pods reach full length, and their peas are about the size of a BB. They should be sweet, juicy, and tender; left on the vine too long and they’ll become too tough to eat. Like snow peas, we eat the entire pod. However, snow peas differ from sugar snap peas in that they are flat with much smaller peas inside the pod.

Most varieties will have a long fibrous string along the pod that needs to be removed by simply pulling it off. Whether you’re harvesting your own peas or buying them at the store, be sure to keep them cool by storing them in the refrigerator. Use them within 3-5 days or freeze. To freeze, wash peas and blanch in boiling water for two minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, place in sealed freezer containers or plastic bags leaving ½-inch headspace and freeze for up to one year. Most of the sugar snap peas in my house gets devoured as a snack before I’m ever able to use them in a recipe. However, there are many ways, other than a sweet snack, to enjoy this green veggie. They’re delicious raw in a lettuce or cold vegetable salad but are also enjoyable when cooked. They can be boiled, steamed, roasted or sautéed in just a few minutes; cook them too long and they turn limp and olive green. Add them to stir-fries, pasta dishes, or simply have them on the side. Enjoy the sweet crunch of sugar snap peas!

 

Sesame Ginger Sugar Snap Peas

(Printable PDF)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

8 oz. sugar snap peas

1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

½ Tablespoon sesame seeds

Wash hands with soap and water. Rinse peas and remove strings if needed. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds. Add peas and soy sauce; sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4-6 minutes until peas are tender but crisp. Stir in sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 60 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 140 milligrams sodium, 6 grams carbohydrate, 1 grams fiber, 2 grams protein

 

Sources:

Curran, S. & Grenci, A. Sugar snap peas. New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Rutgers.

Masabni, J. Easy gardening. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Kim Daniels on Unsplash

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond. 

 

This blog post first appeared in the Pantagraph on March 23, 2022.