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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
They are all climbing plants and members of the legume family and they are easily
grown in containers or in a small space. Let’s learn a little more about each.
Garden peas are sometimes called sweet peas or English peas. The pods are firm and
rounded, but you must shell them, remove the peas inside, then discard the pods before
eating. The peas are sweet and may be eaten raw or cooked; these are the peas you
typically see canned or in the freezer section. They are also more commonly found
in farmers markets; you may start looking for them at local farmers markets in the
Peas are of best quality when they are immature and fully expanded, but not hard and
starchy. Peas should be cooked soon after being picked because their quality, like
that of sweet corn, deteriorates rapidly.
Very small green peas are known as petite pois. They are not a variety of pea but
merely green peas that have been picked before full maturity.
Garden Peas are a source of vitamins A and C, antioxidants that may reduce your risk
of heart disease and certain cancers. Vitamin A helps maintain eye health while Vitamin
C helps protect skin from bruising, helps heal cuts and keeps gums healthy. Eating
foods with vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, which helps your body fight fatigue.
Peas also provide potassium, vitamin K, magnesium, and fiber. Potassium helps maintain
healthy blood pressure, vitamin K and magnesium help build and maintain strong bones,
and fiber helps control cholesterol and keeps your regular.
Peas are also a source of folate, which may reduce your risk of heart disease. Eating
foods with folate before pregnancy helps lower the risk of delivering a baby with
neural tube defects.
Snow peas are also known as Chinese pea pods since it is believed they originated
from Southwest Asia. They are flat with very small peas inside. In fact, they are
harvested before the peas have fully developed in the pod. The whole pod is edible,
although the tough strings along the edges are usually removed before eating.
Snow peas are mildly flavored and can be served raw or cooked. These peas are often
used in stir-fries. They have a flatter pod than sugar snap peas and are found in
the freezer section or fresh at Farmers Markets.
Snap peas are also known as sugar snap peas and are a cross between snow peas and
garden peas. The whole pod is eaten and has a crunchy texture and very sweet flavor.
Snap peas may be eaten raw or cooked. Like snow peas, there may be tough strings at
the seams of the pods that need to be removed before being eaten, but stringless varieties
are now available.
Sugar snap peas are a cross between snow and garden peas. The pods of snow peas are
flatter with small, premature peas, whereas sugar snap peas are more rounded. Both
have an identical nutritional profile and very similar flavors although sugar snap
peas tend to be sweeter and more flavorful. Look for snap peas in the freezer section
or at local farmers markets.
Snow and snap make great additions to various salads. They can also be fried, stir-fried,
or steamed and mixed with ornamental vegetables as a great way to boost your vegetable
Both types can be roasted with olive oil, lightly sauteed with garlic, or steamed
as a side dish. Don’t overcook these legumes or you will get limp peas which lose
Snow and snap peas pods can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two
weeks. They deteriorate only slightly in quality when stored.
Tip: If you don’t have shallots, substitute two tablespoons finely chopped onions and
2 garlic cloves, minced.
Sugar snap peas and snow peas share identical nutritional profiles and are less starchy
than a typical shelled pea.
Due to their vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber content, they both offer various health
They’re also low in calories and provide many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin
C, vitamin K and folate.
For more information check out our Arkansas Food and Nutrition Resources
and download our Beans and Peas Recipes
Download our English Peas Home Gardening Guide or to receive a printed copy of this article and recipe, contact the Miller County
Extension Office, 870-779-3609.
By Carla Due Former Miller County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Miller County Cooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com
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