With a short harvest season snap peas are highly coveted and delicious summer vegetable. Honest Cooking explores this crisp legume in the latest installment of ‘Countdown to Summer.’
by Maya Dangerfield
What About It
June 21st is the first day of summer and the perfect time to try snap peas. Also known as summer snap peas, snap peas are similar to both sweet peas and snow peas. Actually, the snap is a cross between both varieties! Courtesy of the efforts of Dr. Calvin Lamborn and Dr. M.C Parker, the snap pea took the best qualities of snow peas (edible pods) and garden peas (large peas) to create the delicious snap pea we enjoy today.
There are several varieties of the snap pea (Early Snap, Sugar Ann, Sugar Snap, Super Sugar Mel) but all have the same characteristic of a crisp edible pod with plump, rounded peas. Typically one to one and a half inches in length, yielding an average of four peas, the snap pea is a lushly bright green color. Although dubbed ‘sugar snap peas’ for their high content of sugar (compared to other pea varieties), the vegetable a yields a powerful nutritional punch of vitamin A, fiber, and vitamin C.
What to Do With It
Snap peas are an early summer pea and are typically out of season before mid-July. Look for peas that are firm and snap easily. Stock up! Fresh snap peas don’t stay fresh long after harvest and are best enjoyed immediately. Want to savor the flavor of snap peas after the season ends? Freeze fresh snap peas and enjoy them year round in pastas, fish, and stir-fry dishes.
Looking for the latest snap pea recipe? Honest Cooking has you covered with these snap pea inspired favorites.
A recovering teacher and editorial intern for Honest Cooking, Maya began her journalism career at Greatist.com. A food lover who never misses dessert, she is also a passionate sports enthusiast. Currently Maya freelances for FoodmakerMedia and copywrites for Techturized. Her writing has been published for Greatist.com, Shape.com, and The Washington Post.