Snap Pea Bounty (with Two Recipes)
The first snow and sugar snap peas are ready for harvest from the garden, so Babyzilla and I went out and picked enough for dinner tonight. Babyzilla has never had either sugar snap or snow peas before, but after her first taste, she reached into the basket again and again for more.
History and Culture
Peas are one of the world’s oldest crops. Wild peas were foraged centuries before they were domesticated as the trellis climbers we know today. Peas were one of the first plants to be selectively bred by farmers, and were the key crop that Gregor Mendel used in the 1800s to figure out how plant genetics and hybridization worked.
Related: The Difference Between Open Pollinated Seeds, Hybrids, and GMOs
Growing Snap Peas
Peas are pretty easy to grow. Just give them cool, spring weather, composted soil that drains well, and some climbing support. And, if you’re short on space, peas can be grown in containers, along walls, or trained up corn and sunflower stalks.
This year, I planted both snow peas and Oregon Sugar Pod snap peas (which are stringless) together, and they are both growing up a trellis net staple-gunned to the fence in the very back of the garden bed. The double row is 6 feet long, but only 6 inches wide, with over 50 plants, which makes peas an excellent value for the small-space gardener.
One of the benefits of growing peas is that, as a member of the legume family, peas fix nitrogen in the soil which will help fertilize future plants. When your peas are done growing once the weather heats up, just snip the stems off at ground level and let the roots decompose in the soil, leaving the nitrogen for future crops.
Snap Pea Nutrition
Snap and snow peas are quite good for you. A 1/2 cup of cooked snap peas has approximately 2.6 grams of protein, 39 mg of Vitamin C, 1.6 mg of iron, 192 mg of potassium and 21 mg of magnesium.
Here are some yummy sugar snap pea recipes for your spring table.
Lemony Sugar Snap Peas with Avocado
- 1/4 pound raw sugar snap peas
- 1 peeled and sliced Hass avocado
- 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- In a bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.
- Add raw sugar snap peas and avocado, tossing gently to combine.
Dilly Snap Peas
From Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul
- 2 pounds of raw snap peas
- A pinch of cayenne pepper or dried chili peppers
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- 1 head fresh dill, or similar amount in leaves
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 2-1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1/4 cup salt
- Remove strings, if necessary, and pack snap peas as tightly as you can in hot, sterilized pint-size Mason jars, leaving 1/2-inch of headroom.
- To each jar add cayenne, garlic and dill.
- Boil water, vinegar and salt and then pour the mixture over the peas, leaving 1/4-inch headroom.
- Seal the jars and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
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