Quick and Healthy Pea Recipes 

There are two common varieties of peas, green garden peas that need shelling and edible-pod peas that are eaten whole. Snow peas, sugar snap peas, Chinese pea pods, and many others fall into this category. They are low fiber pods with small wrinkled peas inside. The entire pod is eaten, cooked or raw. Green garden peas are legumes just like dried peas, except they are eaten at the immature stage.

The smaller pods are sweeter and more tender. Use them for eating raw and cook the larger ones. The shelled peas should be plump but not large. Check one until you become familiar with the appearance. The plumpest peas should be gathered before the pod starts to wrinkle on the stem. Old peas taste starchy and mealy.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Peas

Green garden peas are a valuable source of protein, iron and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps to reduce serum cholesterol thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Sugar snap peas and the like, contain much less protein, but they are an excellent source of iron and vitamin C that work to keep your immune system functioning properly.


Nutrition Facts

1/2 cup cooked garden peas

  • Calories: 67
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Protein: 4.3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 12.5 grams
  • Vitamin A: 478 IU
  • Vitamin C: 11.4 mg
  • Folic acid: 50.7 micrograms
  • Iron: 1.2 mg
  • Potassium: 217 mg
  • Magnesium: 31 mg


1/2 cup cooked snow peas

  • Calories: 34
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.4 grams
  • Protein: 2.6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5.6 grams
  • Vitamin C: 38.3 mg
  • Iron: 1.6 mg
  • Potassium: 192 mg
  • Magnesium: 21 mg


Preparation and Serving

Fresh peas keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. The sugar in them quickly begins to turn to starch even while under refrigeration. As much as 40 percent of the sugar is converted in a few hours. Store unwashed peas in perforated plastic bags for a few days. The sooner they are eaten the better.

Wash garden peas just before shelling. To shell, pinch off the ends and pull the string down on the inside of the pod and pop the peas out. Wash edible pod peas and trim both ends. Remove the string from both sides of the pod. Cook briefly or serve raw. Steam, sauté or stir-fry quickly to retain the bright green color and vitamin C content. Vitamin C is easily destroyed by over cooking.


Home Preservation

Peas freeze beautifully if they are fresh. Fresh frozen peas do not need to be cooked upon thawing. Just add to soups, stews or heat briefly before serving.


To Prepare Garden Peas or Sugar Peas for Freezing

Since freezing does not improve the quality of any vegetable, it is important to start with fresh green pods. Avoid old tough pods as they will only get tougher during freezing.

  • In a blanching pot or large pot with tight fitting lid, bring about 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
  • Meanwhile, wash, trim and string, pea pods.
  • Blanch no more than one pound of peas at a time. Drop peas into boiling water and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid.
  • Start timing the blanching immediately and blanch shelled peas for two minutes and pods for five minutes.
  • Prepare an ice water bath in a large 5 to 6 quart container or use the sink.
  • Remove the peas from the blanching water with a slotted spoon or blanching basket.
  • Immerse the peas in the ice water bath for 5 min. or until completely cool. If ice is unavailable, use several changes of cold tap water to cool the vegetables.
  • Remove from water and drain.
  • Label and date, quart size, zip-closure freezer bags.
  • Pack peas into prepared freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible by folding the top portion of the bag over. Gently push air out and seal. Freeze for up to one year at 32°F or below.