The mangetout or snow pea (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon) is a legume, more specifically a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe. The Snow Peas are edible podded peas with the best features of snap beans (tender and crispy) and garden peas (sweet and meaty) and blanching these snow peas make them easier to cook and assimilate in the body. In modern times, snow peas are usually blanched or steamed, which breaks down the cell walls and makes the taste sweeter and the nutrients more bio-available. Use a small, sharp knife to trim off the tops and tails, unzipping the string from the edge of each pod as you go. The snow pea pods are then blanched by placing them into boiling water for less than a minute, and then immediately cooled down in cold water. The blanched snow peas may be later mixed with sesame oil, garlic, salt, and often other ingredients as per the recipe.
How to select
The ready to eat blanched snowpeas are not so easily available in the market. Because snow peas have become a common ingredient, many Asian grocery stores carry them. While purchasing snow peas which can be later blanched at home, look for ones whose pods are firm, velvety and smooth. Their color should be a lively medium green and the peas should be very small, and almost completely flat. Those whose green color is especially light or dark, or those that are yellow, whitish or are speckled with gray, should be avoided. Additionally, do not choose pods that are puffy, water soaked or have mildew residue. The pods should contain snow peas of sufficient number and size that there is not much empty room in the pod. All varieties of fresh snow peas should be displayed in a refrigerated case since heat will hasten the conversion of their sugar content into starch. Frozen snow peas are preferable to canned peas as they retain their flavor and have lower sodium content.
" Blanched snow peas are often eaten plain, flavored with butter and/or spearmint as a side dish vegetable. Salt and pepper are also commonly added to peas when served. Blanched snow peas are also used in pot pies, salads and casseroles
" The blanched snow peas are extensively used in Asian cooking and served as a vegetable. In Chinese cooking, blanched snow peas are especially stir-fried with garlic or shellfish such as crab
" These blanched snow peas are often made into a soup or simply eaten on their own
" They are best eaten with light dishes, like chicken or fish, so that their flavour isn't swamped.
" Blanched snow peas are lovely as a crudite, served with hummus or guacamole.
" Stir fry blanched snow peas on their own as a side dish, or make a meal by adding other vegetables such as baby sweetcorn or mushrooms, or with tofu or chicken, in a stir fry. Make sure the pods are dry before you add them to the hot pan, otherwise they will spit. Toss in a sprinkling of sesame seeds to serve.
" Use blanched snow peas in green salads of leaves and herbs.
" Blanched Mange-tout or snow peas are good for adding colour to mixed salads. They also work with well with fresh, fruity flavours, so try them as part of a salad with sliced grapefruit, or pineapple.
" Add a handful of blanched snow peas to children's lunch boxes. They love the sweet crunchiness, and it all helps towards making sure they get the health benefits.
How to store
If you will not be using fresh snow peas on the day of purchase, which is the best way to enjoy them, you should refrigerate them as quickly as possible in order to preserve their sugar content, preventing it from turning into starch. Unwashed, unshelled peas stored in the refrigerator in a bag or unsealed container will keep for several days. Fresh snow peas can also be blanched for one or two minutes and then frozen and used for months.
" Nature packages snow peas in several different forms all of which have a vibrantly delicious flavor, wonderful texture and a wealth of health-promoting nutrients
" Blanched snow peas are a very good source of vitamin K and dietary fiber.
" Blanched snow peas also serve as a very good source of folic acid and a good source of vitamin B6 and Vitamin C.