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Also Known as
Mange touts, Sugar peas, Chinese pea pods
Snow Peas are edible podded peas with the best features of snap beans (tender and crispy) and garden peas (sweet and meaty). The plant grows very well in slightly cold climates. Seeds are sown in early spring and fall. The plant begins to produce peas quickly and in large quantity, about 70 days after sowing. Edible pods mature quickly and should be picked for vegetable use when young. The snow pea is a legume, more specifically a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe.
These are all flat-podded peas which are hand picked and are the kind that is always eaten pod and all. The secret of really enjoying this vegetable is to pick the pods while they are on the young side. All you have to do is to top and tail them.
A truly wonderful vegetable if fresh; frozen snow peas simply miss out on all the qualities of their fresh cousins. Snow peas are similar to fresh green peas, but much more delicate. The pod is the main attraction crisp, tender and bright green.
How to Select
Purchase smooth, thin, crisp pods of snow peas with little or no seed enlargement. Fresh pods are turgid and shiny, not wilted. Snow peas are at best when crisp, tender, plump but with little or no string along the suture (top of pod leading to the little point). Wilted or tough pods will not be sweet and crisp inside. Look for good color, crisp and small pods.
· Snow peas almost take less than a minute to cook. Remove the ends as for string beans, and some of the larger snow peas w ill need to have strings removed. These usually pull off when you remove the ends.
· Young Snow Peas are excellent for salads.
· The green shoots can also be cut and served as a vegetable as is done in Chinese cooking. Especially stir-fried with garlic or shellfish such as crab.
· Steaming them to boiling them, and, of course, it improves them if you serve them a little knob of butter. Whichever method is preferred, keep cooking time short; one to two minutes is sufficient for heating through. Serve along or in combination with fresh mushrooms or water chestnuts, or in stir-fry recipes.
· Snow peas can be served raw in salads, but blanching them in boiling water for one minute brings out their vivid green color and heightens their crispness.
How to Store
Snow peas can be stored for up to two weeks in a refrigerator. Wash, drain and place pods in plastic bags before refrigerating them
· Snow peas provide vitamins A and C, iron and potassium.
· They are low in sodium.
· Snow Peas provide good amount of 8 vitamins, 7 minerals, dietary fiber and protein.
· Snow Peas supply nutrients that are important for maintaining bone health. They are a very good source of vitamin K1, which activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone.
· Snow Peas also serve as a very good source of folic acid and a good source of vitamin B6.