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Green Peas

Selecting Green Peas

Green peas, like dried peas, are legumes, except they're eaten before they mature. Fresh green peas are only available in April and May. Choose firm, plump, bright-green pods.

Fresh snow peas, also known as Chinese pea pods, are increasingly available year-round. Look for small, shiny, flat pods; they're the sweetest and most tender. Avoid cracked, overly large, or limp pods.

green pea pods
Look for bright green color when selecting green peas.

Sugar snap peas are edible pods like snow peas, but sweet like green peas. Select plump, bright-green pods. Fresh peas don't keep long. Because their sugar quickly turns to starch, the sooner you eat them the more flavorful they'll be. When you can't get fresh peas, try frozen.

Preparation and Serving Tips

Wash peas just before shelling and cooking. To shell, pinch off the ends, pull down the string on the inside, and pop out the peas. Steam for a very short time: six to eight minutes. They'll retain their flavor and more vitamin C if they retain their bright green color.

Snow peas just need washing and trimming before cooking or eating raw. Sugar snap peas need the string removed from both sides. Snow peas are perfect in stir-fries; cook briefly, a minute or two. Try adding peas to pasta sauce or tuna casserole, or serving raw with a low-fat dip.

Keep reading to learn about the many health benefits of green peas.

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