Snap and snow peas are some of the delights of spring. But they disappear fast, so preserve some of your snap pea harvest by making these dilly pickled snap peas.
Snap Peas vs. Snow Peas
Both snap peas and snow peas are legumes with edible pods that can be eaten either raw or cooked. They are sometimes called mange-tout peas, because you “eat all” of it.
However, snow peas (also called Chinese pea pods) are green, flat, and oblong in shape with tiny peas visible through the outside of the pod.
In contrast, snap peas (also called sugar snap peas) are a cross between a snow pea and a shelling pea, so they are fat and juicy, and you usually cannot see the peas from the outside of the pod.
Snap peas are better for pickling than snow peas because they hold their shape and crunch after canning.
Snap Pea Nutrition
Snap (and snow) peas contain vitamin K, vitamin C, iron, beta-carotene, and a host of B-complex vitamins, including folate, making them a highly nutritious vegetable option for any diet.
Snap and snow peas are delicious sauteed, steamed, pickled, or added to soups, pasta dishes, and salads, but they also make a healthy snack! One cup of snap peas contains 41 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 2.5 grams of fiber.
How to Choose Snap Peas
Snap and snow peas are available in your grocer’s produce department, usually near the lettuce. You can also find them at the farmer’s market in early spring. Select peas whose pods are bright green with smooth skin. Do not choose any pods that are discolored, spotted, or wrinkled.
If you grow snap peas in your garden, harvest them when they are bright green, full, and smooth. Test one for ripeness by pulling it gently off the vine and snapping it in half. If the peas are small and the walls are thick and green, then they are ready for harvest.
How to Store Snap Peas
As with all garden peas, the fresher they are, the better they taste. Snap (and snow) peas will keep for up to five days in a produce bag or crisper in your refrigerator. Compost any pods if they start to discolor or lose their firmness.
Preparing Snap Peas
Snap and snow peas can be eaten raw or cooked, but rinse them in cool tap water before preparing them. Most people also trim off any blossom ends on the pod, and if needed, pull off the string that sometimes runs down the seam of the pod.
Dilly Pickled Snap Peas
- 2 pounds snap peas
- 1 pinch dried crushed red pepper, or dried chili pepper, per jar
- 1 clove garlic, diced, per jar
- 2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped, OR 1 tsp. dried dill OR 1-1/2 Tbsp dill seeds, per jar
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seed, per jar
- 2-1/2 cups filtered water
- 2-1/2 cups white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. raw cane sugar
- 4 Tbsp. sea salt
- Remove ends and strings, if necessary, and pack snap peas tightly into hot, sterilized pint-size Mason jars, leaving 1/2-inch of headroom.
- To each jar add cayenne, garlic, mustard seed, and dill.
- Boil water, vinegar, sugar and salt and then pour the mixture over the peas, leaving 1/4-inch headroom in each jar.
- For best flavor, let your pickles marinate in the refrigerator for a day or two before eating. Pickles last 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
- For longer term storage, seal the jars and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.