Peak season: Late spring through early summer
When it comes to natural sweetness, you can’t beat garden-fresh peas. Only about 5% of the peas grown in the world are actually eaten fresh—most are frozen or canned. Do your part to boost the statistics by indulging in fresh spring peas—snap, snow or English shelling. Choose snow or snap peas if you’re looking for the tasty edible pods to throw in a salad or simply sauté, and shelling varieties for the fun-to-open pods full of little green gems. Bursting with nutrients, peas are a very good source of vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C, iron, fiber, vitamin B1 and folate, as well as a good source of a host of other vitamins and minerals.
What you get
Green peas are a great source of protective phytonutrients, including flavanols, phenolic acids and carotenoids.
- Shopping Tip
- How to Buy Peas:
Some varieties of peas truly evoke the season with names like Daybreak, Spring and Sparkle.
Look for firm, vibrant green pods without blotches and with the stem end still attached.
- Storage Tip
- How to Store Peas:
All types of fresh peas are fragile. English shelling peas will deteriorate faster than edible-pod peas, so use them within a few days. Peas have a high sugar content, which turns readily to starch under prolonged storage. It’s often impossible to know how long vegetables have been in storage before getting to you, so take care of your peas and watch for signs of degradation, such as yellowing, wilting and loss of tenderness.
In 1533, Catherine de Medici supposedly brought Italian peas to France when she married Henry II.