Snow Peas

Snow Peas 101 – The Basics

If you want to know something about snow peas, look no further! The following article covers many aspects about the vegetables, from what they are to how to use them along with links to suggested recipes. I hope this helps!


Snow Peas 101 – The Basics

About Snow Peas
Snow peas are cousins with sugar snap peas and are in the legume family. They have large flattened green pods with tiny peas inside. They may be called Holland peas in other parts of the world. Interestingly, snow peas were grown and enjoyed in Holland as early as the 1500s. They were very popular in Europe in the 1800s. From there they spread to China where they quickly became a mainstay in their cuisine.

The peak season for snow peas is spring through early summer. Both the pods and peas are edible having a sweet flavor and crisp-tender texture. They are commonly used in Asian cuisine, being included in stir-fries, fried rice, and noodle dishes. Snow peas can also be a nice addition to soups, curries and meat dishes.

Nutrition Tidbits
Snow peas are extremely high in Vitamin C and low in calories. One cup of snow peas has about 67 calories. They are also good sources of fiber, folate and other B-vitamins, Vitamin K, an array of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, copper, and manganese, and antioxidants such as the carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Their nutrient profile helps to fight free radicals and cellular damage, lower cholesterol levels, protect our bones, fight cancers, and protect our brain from dementia.

How to Select Snow Peas
Snow peas are at their best in the spring, but they are available year-round in many grocery stores. Choose ones that look fresh, flat, and are brightly colored with little to no blemishes. Avoid those that look dry or wilted. Also, watch for cracks, bruising, and discoloration, as they are older and less desirable.

How to Store Snow Peas
Refrigerate snow peas in a plastic bag or in the crisper drawer set on high-humidity. Use them as soon as possible, preferably within two or three days of buying them.

How to Freeze Snow Peas
Place washed and trimmed snow peas in boiling water for 1-1/2 minutes. Promptly transfer them to a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes, until completely cooled. Drain, then place them on a tray in the freezer for one or two hours, until frozen.* Transfer the frozen peas to a freezer container or bag. Properly prepared, they will keep frozen for about 8 months.

*Freezing them separately is not mandatory, but will prevent them from freezing into one big lump, making them hard to use without breaking them into smaller pieces.

If you opt to freeze your peas without first blanching, use them within four to six weeks because their quality will quickly deteriorate.

Raw vs Cooked
Snow peas have a mild flavor and may be eaten raw or cooked. Since both the pod and peas are edible, they can be added to salads (whole or cut up) for a nice fresh flavor and light crunch.

In Asian cuisine, they are typically cooked and added to dishes with other foods, like stir-fried vegetables and fried rice.

How to Prepare Snow Peas
Wash your snow peas in cold water and pat them dry. Remove the ends and the string along the seam, if desired, and use them whole or cut them as needed for your recipe.

Cooking/Serving Ideas
Snow peas may be enjoyed raw or boiled, blanched, steamed, stir-fried, sautéed, and added to soups, stews, and curries. When cooked, they are at their best when cooked only briefly, as this retains their crispness, color and nutrients.

To steam snow peas, place them in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover with a lid and allow them to steam for 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender.

Here are some ideas for using snow peas:

* Add snow peas to your favorite salad for freshness and a light crispy addition.

* When making an appetizer tray with veggies and dip, include snow peas and sugar snap peas to the options. They would make great vehicles for collecting dip!

* Add snow peas to your favorite stir-fried vegetables.

* Sauté snow peas with garlic in oil and/or butter. Top with a drizzle of lemon juice.

* Include snow peas with other vegetables when making fried rice or noodles.

* Try a stir-fried or stir-steamed medley of snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, carrots and onions. Add some ginger and garlic for a little zing in the veggies.

* Sauté carrots and snow peas in butter, then glaze with a little honey for some sweetness. A small drizzle of lemon juice can help balance the sweetness, if desired.

* Combine your favorite cooked pasta with some butter and/or olive oil, snow peas, sun dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and some Parmesan cheese.

* Try roasting snow peas. Lightly coat washed and trimmed peas with olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic powder. Place in a 400°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until crispy (turn once during roasting). Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Snow Peas
Cilantro, curry paste, curry powder, five-spice powder, garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, lemongrass, mint, miso, mustard, pepper (black, Szechuan), salt, soy sauce, tarragon, Worcestershire sauce

Other Foods That Go Well With Snow Peas
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Beef, cashews, chicken, peanuts and peanut sauce, peas, pork, poultry, scallops, seafood, sesame, shrimp, tofu

Vegetables: Bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chiles, kale, mushrooms, onions, radishes, scallions, squash (summer), sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, zucchini

Fruits: Coconut, lemon, lime, orange

Grains: Noodles, rice (esp. basmati, brown, wild)

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, coconut milk

Other: Chili sauce, oil (esp. peanut, sesame), soy sauce, sugar, tofu, vegetable stock, vinaigrette, vinegar (esp. rice)

Cuisines and dishes that go well with snow peas:
Asian cuisine, Chinese cuisine, salads, slaws, soups, stir-fries, Thai cuisine

Suggested Flavor Combos:
Snow peas + Asian noodles + lime + peanut sauce
Snow peas + Asian noodles + mirin (a type of Japanese rice wine)
Snow peas + bell peppers + curry powder + scallions + tofu
Snow peas + carrots + ginger
Snow peas + carrots + honey + orange
Snow peas + chiles + ginger + lemongrass
Snow peas + coconut milk + garlic + lime
Snow peas + garlic + ginger
Snow peas + garlic + peanut oil + pepper
Snow peas + ginger + scallions

Recipe Links
Summer Pea and Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Extra Vegetable Fried Rice

Lemon Herb Summer Linguine with Chicken, Asparagus, and Snow Peas

Brown Buttered Snow Peas

Sesame Snow Pea Salad

Moo Goo Gai Pan

One Pot Coconut Curry Shrimp

Thai Red Curry with Prawns and Snow Peas

Asian Beef with Snow Peas

Quick and Easy Snow Peas With Butter and Lemon

Sesame Snow Peas in Apricot Sauce

Stir-Fried Chicken and Snow Peas

Mushroom Snow Pea Stir-Fry

Fettuccine with Salmon and Snow Peas

Shrimp and Snow Pea Salad

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Snow Peas

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

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