Snap peas are my new summer love. They’re fresh and crisp, slightly sweet and have a wonderful crunch. In case you’re not sure what’s a snap pea, they’re like the chubby brother of the snow pea or the little cousin of edamame.
Snap peas are in season from May through August in most areas of the country. Here’s how to pick the best peas and some of the healthier ways to enjoy them.
[sws_pullquote_small align=”sws_pq_center” textalign=”left” linecolors=”b3b3b3″ fontstyle=”normal” textcolor=”356e1b”] A cup of whole snap peas is only 25 calories and they provide 5 grams carbohydrate and 1.5 grams fiber. They’re an excellent source of beta-carotene and other carotenoids and provide potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K and B-vitamins including folate. [/sws_pullquote_small]
How to Select: Look for fresh snap peas at farmers’ markets or your local supermarket. Choose snap peas that are bright green and feel firm.
How to Store: Store in the crisper section of the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag. Use within 2-3 days for the most nutrition.
Enjoy Raw: You can eat the full pod and all with snap peas, there’s no reason to shell them. Just remove the stem and they’re good to go. I like them with a little hummus or on their own.
Enjoy Cooked: Blanch snap peas in boiling water for about 1 minute (don’t overcook as you’ll destroy some of the heat-sensitive nutrients) and put immediately on ice to stop the cooking and retain their color. I cut blanched peas into halves and add to my summer salads.
Here are a couple ideas of what to make with your fresh sugar snap peas.
Sesame Snap Peas
1/2 pound Snap Peas, trimmed
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 scallion, sliced thinly on diagonal
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted lightly
Cut snap peas on diagonal in half. In a saucepan of boiling salted water blanch snap peas for 1 minute and drain in a colander. Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking; then drain well. In a bowl, toss peas with oil, scallion, sesame seeds, and salt to taste.
Sugar Snap Peas with Carmelized Onions, Mint and Almonds
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 25 min
Total time: 30 min
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 pound sugar snap peas
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves (about 1/4 cup chopped)
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
2. Chop the onion and cook over medium-high heat in an oiled sauté pan until carmelized (about 20-25 minutes).
3. Wash the sugar snap peas and de-string them if necessary, snapping the tip and removing the fibrous strand running lengthwise. If the snap peas are young though, you won’t have to do this. Drop the sugar snap peas into the pot of boiling water. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then strain out and drop them into an ice bath.
4. Once the snap peas are cooled, strain them out and place half of them in a large bowl. Shell the other half, adding the peas to the bowl. Julienne the remaining pod shells lengthwise and add to the bowl.
5. Roughly chop the mint leaves. Toast and roughly chop the almonds. Add mint, almonds, and carmelized onions to the bowl.
6. Mix together the rice vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and drizzle over the salad. Toss well, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled.