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Tuesday, June 7, 2011


One of the best springtime veggies are peas.  Whether you like English peas, snow peas or sugar snap peas, this is the best time of the year to eat them--when they're incredibly sweet and tender.

Peas have been a staple of many culinary cultures for thousands of years.  Dried peas are great sources of protein and sustained much of Europe in the Middle Ages.  Soon, the English developed a variety (now known as English or garden peas) that were eaten in their immature stage. 
English peas from our garden
We are growing them in our garden for the first time and they're doing very well.  You don't eat the pod in this variety, but what's inside is well worth the work.  The peas taste as sweet as candy.  They're just as good raw as cooked--and you definitely don't want to overcook these little gems.  If you grow them yourself, keep them on the plant until you're ready to eat them.  Their sugars rapidly turn to starch once picked.  That's why you don't see these peas in grocery stores unless frozen.

 Snow peas
Snow peas are the flat pods with tiny peas inside.  The whole thing can be eaten and they can be very sweet and tasty--again, if they're picked close to the time they're eaten.  (Although this isn't as critical as with the English peas.
Sugar snap peas

Sugar snap peas are actually a relatively new variety.  During the 1970's, people wanted the sweetness and plumpness of the English pea and the convenience and crunch of the pea/pod of the snow pea.  So the sugar snap pea was developed as a combination of the two.

Whatever variety you favor, this time of year, you won't have to be told "Eat your peas!"

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