Eating seasonally is one of the fastest, easiest, and healthiest ways to not only improve your health, but also drop your grocery bills.
People often mistakenly equate fresh produce with expensive food, but this is not the truth. Shopping farmers markets mean finding the freshest food available, supporting small, locally-owned farms, and making new friends – all at the same time!
This post is sponsored by Garden Spot Vegetable Farm. Located in Princeville, Illinois, owner, Jim Buckley and his family, cultivate 34 acres of vegetables and 375 fruit trees. Garden Spot is a no-spray farm, offering a variety of CSA packages. Check their Facebook page for current programs and options for available produce.
Sugar Snap Peas – vs – Snow Peas
Gee whiz! How do you tell the difference between these two botanical species and can you use them interchangeably?
Botanically, sugar snap peas are a cross between garden peas and snow peas. You can distinguish them from snow peas through their general appearance.
Snow peas are flatter and the peas on the interior will look like immature, full-size peas. However, mature sugar snap peas will appear more rounded and “filled out”.
You need to be aware the very young sugar snap peas are flatter and tend to look a lot like a smaller version of snow peas.
Both species are crisp and have a nearly identical nutritional profile and are similar in flavor. Yet, sugar snap peas do tend to taste a little sweeter.
In terms of cooking and eating, one can use them interchangeably.
Here are three reasons I think you should give sugar snap peas a try.
Reason #1: They taste great.
Sugar snap peas are a late spring or early summer treat that will please everyone in your family.
They are sweet. Yep! That’s why they are called “sugar” snap peas. They have a very mild flavor with just a hint of a honey aftertaste. They should not taste sour or bitter.
Storing Your Peas
In terms of regular storage, you should place unwashed peas in a baggie or other container in the refrigerator for up to three days. They are best eaten within five days of being picked.
However, because you can keep them out of refrigeration for several hours without wilting, they are perfect for picnics.
Read more about using seasonal produce in these related posts:
- Lemony Sugar Snap Peas
- Spring Garden Goodness ($50 Weekly Menu for a family of four)
- How to Use the Perfect Pairings of Early Spring Produce
Reason #2: Sugar snap peas are good for you.
Why are sugar snap peas good for me to eat?
Sugar snap peas, like all vegetables, pack a punch when it comes to adding fiber to your diet. They are also one of the fairly low-carb vegetables.
However, they also offer three more important nutrients in large quantities.
- Vitamin C – 100% of daily requirements
- Vitamin K – 31% of daily requirements
- Vitamin A – 22% of daily requirements
Reason #3: Sugar snap peas are versatile.
You can eat sugar snap peas raw, cooked, or easily freeze them for later use.
Eating Them Raw
For an amazing treat, eat sugar snap peas with delicious Walnut Lime Chickpea Spread
To eat them raw, simply wash and eat each pea from the end, stopping at the cap of the pea (where it was attached to the plant.) The very top will be fibrous to eat.
Alternately, you can grab the top of the pea and remove it along with the string which lines the pea before eating.
If you are home, after you remove the tops of the peas, be sure to save your scraps to make homemade vegetable broth.
- Sugar Snap Pea Salad
- Arugula Strawberry and Sugar Snap Pea Salad
- Sugar Snap Peas with Walnut Lime Chickpea Spread
Eating Them Cooked
Sugar snap peas are seriously quick and easy to use. They are an alternative to ordering out “fast food”, because you can, honestly, use them and have dinner on the table for your family in less than thirty minutes. Not only that, you’ll save money and calories, while enjoying the health benefits of delicious, homemade food.
Freezing them for later use
Before freezing sugar snap peas, you will need to blanch them. This process involved quickly cooking a vegetable in boiling water for a short period of time, then immediately plunging them into ice water to stop the cooking process.
Once you freeze sugar snap peas, they can be used anytime within twelve months.
I give complete instructions on freezing produce, in this post.