How to eat sugar snap peas

All are fresh, green, and sweet, but these spring vegetables different in a few important ways.

Frozen peas are so ubiquitous—and easy to use—that it’s easy to overlook the springtime wonder of fresh peas straight from the pod. But not all peas are taken from their pods to eat as some pods are actually edible. To make things more confusing for the average home cook , some peas can be eaten raw while others should be cooked. Here, we outline the differences between English peas, sugar snap peas, snow peas, and pea shoots—in other words, peas aplenty.

Before we dive into the particulars of each type of fresh pea, it”s important to note that all three develop sweetness as they grow to maturity. If left on the plant for too long, those sugars are converted into starches so the peas become fibrous and tough with a less sweet flavor. For the cook, this means choosing peas that are fresh and young—this is not a time when bigger is better—and recently picked.

English Peas

Also known as shelling peas or garden peas, these are the same peas that are frozen. The pod isn’t eaten, just the peas inside. One pound of pods yields about a cup of peas. When buying English peas, look for firm, round pods about three to four inches long that are a smooth green color and unblemished. Avoid older looking pods as the peas will not be as sweet.

The first English peas can be eaten as is, but as the season progresses and peas are larger, you’ll need to cook them, albeit briefly: Blanching peas takes just a minute or two. Be sure to delight everyone at the table with this easy pasta where English peas take a starring role and serve this glorious salmon with peas for your next celebration. There’s a trick to opening a peapod: Pull down on the stem to string it and gently push out the attached peas. Compost the pod or use it in a spring vegetable stock.

Pea Shoots

The edible stems, leaves, and curly tendrils of pea plants have a delicate texture and subtle flavor that make them worth snapping up at the market (or snipping from your own garden). They may be also called pea greens and can be served fresh in salads or quickly sautéed.

Snow Peas

Part of the category of legumes known as mange-touts, or “eat all,” these flat green pods, which hold small peas, are entirely edible. They can be enjoyed raw, whole, or sliced. They are also excellent cooked, such as in stir-fries or blanched or sautéed. Snow peas should be stringed, too, although if they’re young enough you won’t need to. To buy snow peas, look for very small, flat seeds in flat, shiny pods that are two to three inches long.

Sugar Snap Peas

The newest of the group, sugar snap peas are also known as snap peas and have only been around since the 1970s. They’re a hybrid, developed by a plant breeder who wanted a pea that could be eaten raw or cooked. The plump pods are crisp, sweet, and just right for snacking on raw or serving with dip as crudités. They are also excellent simmered, steamed, or sautéed briefly, just until they turn bright green. When the pods are larger and you’ll want to string them before cooking. If snap peas are big and tough, shell them and cook the peas separately as you would English peas.

Snap peas and English peas can be confused because both have round peas in a pod but snap pea pods are smaller and the pod is thinner. When buying them, look for pods with no nicks or bruises.

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Bright, crisp and naturally sweet, sugar snap peas are a healthy summer treat. Like most veggies, sugar snap peas are low in calories. At just 41 calories per cup, they’ll fit into virtually any diet, including low-carb diets or low-calorie diets for weight loss. Sugar snap peas also offer lots of nutritional value, and they’ll help you reach your recommended daily intake of a few key nutrients.

You might not think of sugar snap peas as an iron-providing powerhouse – it’s more likely you conjure up images of steaks when you think of iron – but they offer a surprising amount of this essential mineral. Each cup of chopped sugar snap peas boasts 2 milligrams of iron, enough to cover one-quarter of the daily iron needs for men and 11 percent of the daily needs for women. That iron helps you produce energy, activates enzymes your immune system needs to fight off infections, and nourishes your red blood cells to fight energy-zapping anemia.

Vitamin C

Most veggies offer at least some vitamin C, but sugar snap peas are an especially great source of this vitamin. A cup of chopped sugar snap peas supplies 59 milligrams of vitamin C, which is nearly 80 percent of the vitamin C needs for women and about two-thirds of the daily needs for men. Vitamin C is best known for its antioxidant benefits, which helps reverse and prevent cell damage caused by toxins called free radicals. But it’s also important for making collagen, which means the vitamin C in sugar snap peas also benefits your skin, bones, cartilage and hair.

Vitamin A

You’ll do your peepers a favor by adding sugar snap peas into your diet, because they’re a fantastic source of vitamin A. In addition to supporting healthy vision, the vitamin A in your peas also keeps your immune system strong and promotes healthy cell development all over your body. Each cup of chopped sugar snap peas adds 1,065 international units of vitamin A to your daily intake. That covers a little more than one-third of the daily vitamin A requirements for men, and about 45 percent of the requirements for women.

Serving Your Sugar Snap Peas

Since they’re naturally sweet and tasty, including more sugar snap peas in your diet can be as easy as grabbing a bowl full to eat on their own. They also pair well with healthy dips, from garlicky hummus to a creamy-but-nutritious eggplant-based baba ganoush. However, you don’t need to stop there. Include chopped sugar snap peas in your pasta dishes for added crunch – or as a topping for zucchini noodles if you’re avoiding pasta – and toss them into your salads, too. Or lightly drizzle the peas in sesame oil, add a dusting of sesame seeds, and roast until tender for a flavorful, healthy side dish.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Now is the time to enjoy fresh, in season sugar snap peas in all of the delicious ways that you can. From how to buy them, how to eat them raw, and how to cook them, this guide has you covered.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Snap Peas

Snap peas are one of our favorite vegetables to eat because they are naturally sweet and crisp. This makes them a hit with both parents and kids when they’re served raw and cooked.

Nutrition in Snap Peas

Snap peas are a great source of Vitamin C as one cup has 98% of our daily need for Vitamin C. They also provide Vitamin A, K, and fiber.

Raw Sugar Snap Peas

If you’ve never tried raw sugar snap peas, you’re in for a treat. You can eat the whole pod, with the peas inside, and if you can get them fresh from the farmer’s market, they will be so impressively sweet.

TIP: You may want to break the ends off and remove the long strand that runs along the side—but with very fresh and tender peas, chances are you won’t even notice it.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

How to Buy Sugar Snap Peas

Look for snap peas that are free from blemishes, don’t have too many white or gray marks, and that are plump for their size. Ask to sample one if buying from the farmer’s market so you know they are good.

How to Store Sugar Snap Peas

To store this vegetable, simply make sure that the pods are dry and store in the crisper in an airtight container or up to 5 days. If you buy them in a bag from the store, you may want to open the bag, line the sides with a paper towel, then clip the bag closed to help remove excess moisture—which can cause mold.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Best Recipes for Sugar Snap Peas

Kid-Friendly Sugar Snap Peas

If your kids are new to eating snap peas, definitely try them from the farmer’s market if you see them in May, June, or July (depending on how far north you live). My kids have always loved eating them raw. Then try them in some of the recipes above or in a simple stir fry to expand their likes!

Preserve that harvest of snap peas by freezing them! Peas freeze very well and will thaw with much of their texture and flavor intact. Blanching goes a long way toward protecting that fresh-from-the-garden feel and taste. It’s a simple process that beats letting garden surplus go to waste any day.

How to Prep the Kitchen

Three simple steps to freezing sugar snap peas:

The first step upon bringing in the bounty is washing and processing your peas. Rinse them in cool water and remove any dirt. It is up to you how you’d like to freeze them: with stems and strings or without. Traditionally, the stems are taken off and the main string is removed.

To do this, snap off the stem toward the main seam of the pea pod and pull down along the main seam. A tough fibrous string that runs the length of the pod should come right off along with the stem. Not all types of pea will have a string to remove, check your seed packet for details on your variety.

How to Blanch

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil on the stovetop. On your counter have an equally large bowl of ice water ready. The bowls need to fit all your peas, so adjust size accordingly.

Drop the de-stringed peas into the boiling water. They don’t need long, 1 1/2 minutes will do it. Avoid ‘cooking’ them by leaving them in too long. You can simplify this process by leaving the peas in a strainer and dipping the strainer into the boiling water for 1 1/2 minutes.

Blanching doesn’t cook the peas. It stops natural enzymes that occur within the plant from breaking it down further. This means that when you thaw out your peas after freezing they aren’t a pile of mush.

Immediately after boiling, drain the peas and drop them into the ice water bath to stop any cooking. Leave them in the cold water for 2 minutes, then drain them.

How to Freeze

Spread the peas out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until all of the peas have frozen solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer bag. Allowing them to freeze on the pan makes sure they won’t stick together in the bag. If you were to place them in the bag before freezing on the pan, you may end up with one large pea-sickle.

Peas will last in the freezer for up to a year. They will lose some of their fresh texture and flavor, so some gardeners prefer them cooked after being frozen. Try out different recipes and come up with your own.

These are the kings of the edible-pod peas, a class that also includes the flat snow peas. Sugar snaps are sweeter, crunchier and have more pea flavor. They’re so good you might think they must be an old variety, but in fact, they stem from some crosses made in the 1970s by a plant breeder named Calvin Lamborn.

How to choose: Look for pods that are firm and crisp. They shouldn’t bend at all but should snap. The color in general should be a saturated pale green. Some peas will show a little white scarring on the pod; that’s not a problem.

How to store: Refrigerate in a tightly sealed plastic bag. They’ll last four or five days.

How to prepare: Many sugar snap varieties have a tough fibrous string that runs the length of the pea and should be removed before cooking. Fold back the stem and pull — the string will unzip quite easily. Check carefully; some varieties have strings on both sides (just repeat the stem operation from the opposite end). Cook sugar snaps very briefly to preserve their flavor and crunch.

Here’s one great dish: Chop some chives and shallots and stir them into prepared mayonnaise. Combine cooked, shelled shrimp in a bowl with a couple handfuls of sugar snaps, and stir in just enough of the mayonnaise to lightly bind them. That’s dinner.

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How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are similar in taste and appearance to snow peas, although sugar snap peas have puffier pods and a slightly thicker skin. Sugar snap peas can be added to salads and stir-fry for a crunchy kick, or they can be served on their own as a side dish. Sugar snap peas contain a pesky string that should be removed before eating, although there are two schools of thought as to whether the string should be removed before or after cooking.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Determine whether you would like to string your sugar snap peas before or after cooking. According to John Peterson, author of “Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables,” keeping the string on keeps the flavor in while the sugar snap peas are cooking. The “Los Angeles Times,” on the other hand, recommends stringing the peas before cooking them.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Break off the stem of the pea pod. The stem is a rough area that extends slightly out from the top of the pod. You will hear a snapping sound as the stem breaks.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Gently pull the stem downward, pulling the strings with it. Each sugar snap pea pod should have two strings, one on either side of the pod.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Use a paring knife to remove any stubborn strings that will not pull off. Make a small incision to cut off the tip of the sugar snap pea pod and then pull the tip downward to remove any additional strings.

Mix sugar snap peas with teriyaki sauce and heat them in a frying pan for a quick side dish.


Use a paring knife with caution. Keep all knives out of the reach of children.

Peas are one of the greatest treats of spring garden. While all vegetables taste better when picked fresh, this is specially true for peas. The taste of a freshly picked pea cannot be compared to anything you might get at the store.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are a hybrid of English peas and snow peas. They combine the best of both worlds. They are crunchy, juicy with plump sweet peas inside

Peas are very easy to grow and are ideal for smaller plots because they grow upwards (climb), taking very little space on the bed.

Peas thrive in cool temperatures. The plant can survive frost but grow poorly in high temperatures. Plant peas in early spring when soil is around 40F degrees.

Harvest peas while fresh and green, before they start to turn yellow. Pick the pods that are full size. Cut the pods from the plant instead of pulling off to avoid damaging the plant.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Snap peas, like all other peas, are pod fruits. An edible-podded pea is similar to a garden or English pea but the pod is less fibrous, and is edible when young. Snap peas don’t open when ripe and each pod contain about 3 to 8 peas.

Peas are climbing plants, so it’s important to provide the plant with a support system early on. In my garden I used both a wire trellis and tomato cages, and they worked really well in providing with enough support for the plant to climb.

Trellis can be purchased at a garden center or you can use garden scraps like wood sticks, chicken wire and other material to crate your own.

When the plant is still very young, you can train them to climb by loosely tie the plant to the trellis using a piece of string or garden twist ties

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

While snap peas are perfect to eat raw as a snap with hummus, they are delicious sautéed with minimal ingredients.

This recipe below is a delicious way to serve snap peas as a vegetable side dish. The peas do not need to cook for long, and are perfect with toasted pine nuts and a bit of lemon zest.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to all your comments. Also, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram for a special shutout and/or a chance of being featured in my newsletter!

Sweet and crispy sugar snap peas are a versatile vegetable. They work well as a side dish, they can be eaten by themselves, or they can be served as part of a vegetable medley. Vivid, green snap peas also make for an appealing hors d’oeuvre when served raw with a flavorful dip on the side. Sugar snap peas are also easy to prepare—they can be steamed and ready to serve in under four minutes.

Conventional Steaming

Place a metal colander or collapsible steamer basket in a pot. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan; do not add so much water that it enters the colander or basket. Add snap peas that have been washed and rinsed to the steamer basket, and cover.

Bring the water to a boil and steam the peas for no more than three to four minutes. Steam the peas for less time if you plan to incorporate the peas into a heated dish.

Remove the pot from the heat and plunge the steamed peas into a bath of ice water to stop the cooking process and to help the peas retain their color.

Drain off the water once the peas have cooled. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for future use.

Steaming in a Wok

Place rinsed sugar snap peas into a bamboo steaming basket, which are available at most Asian food stores. Cover the basket.

Pour about one-half cup of water into a wok, and place the basket in the center. Bring the water to a boil, and allow the peas to steam for three to four minutes.

Plunge the peas into an ice bath. Serve immediately, or dry them and store in the refrigerator for future use.

Microwave Steaming

Place rinsed sugar snap peas in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a few tablespoons of water, being careful not to submerge the peas.

Microwave on high for about one to two minutes.

Allow the peas to cool before serving or storing in the refrigerator for future use.

Studies show that microwave steaming retains a vegetable’s nutrients the best, followed by stove top steaming.

While not usually necessary with young, fresh peas, you may choose to remove the stem and string from the peas before serving. Remove them before cooking if you plan to use them hot, and after the ice bath if you plan to serve them cold.

Serve snap peas to children as a healthy snack. One tablespoon of vegetables per year of age equals one serving, so a 3-year-old will receive a full serving of healthy vegetables by crunching on just five or six chilled sugar snap peas.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Last Updated on October 21, 2018

There are really only 3 main types of peas that you can grow in your garden.

  • Snow Peas (aka mangetout)
  • Sugar Snap Peas (also aka mangetout)
  • Garden Peas (aka regular peas)

The word mangetout (French for eat all) can apply to sugar snap peas and snow peas. And they are called mangetout because you can eat both the peas and the pea pod.

Garden peas have a harder, more fibrous pod. The pod is not eaten and you need to remove the peas from the shell. These are the type of peas that you will find canned or frozen.

Sugar Snap Peas vs Snow Peas

Don’t confuse these with edamame which are not peas. Edamame are a type of soybean.

Snow peas have the softest pod. You can eat the whole thing raw or toss it in a stir-fry. They are popular in Chinese cooking.

Sugar snap peas are also eaten whole but the pod is a bit more crunchy. Your jaw will go snap snap snap when you eat them.

Sugar snap peas are actually a cross breed between snow peas and garden peas. Don’t worry about the word “sugar” in the name. Sugar snap peas are low carb and are not going to make you fat.

Snow peas are more resistant to cold weather. That’s why they got the name snow peas!

Let’s take a look at their nutritional information:

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Snow Peas Nutrition Facts
For a Serving Size of 100 grams ( 100 g)
Calories 41.7 Calories from Fat 0 ( 0 %)
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0 g
Sodium 0 mg 0%
Carbohydrates 7.1 g
Net carbs 4.8 g
Fiber 2.4 g 10%
Glucose 3.6 g
Protein 2.4 g
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamin A 214.3 μg 24%
Vitamin C 85.7 mg 143%
Calcium 47.6 mg 5%
Iron 1 mg 12%
Fatty acids
Amino acids
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas Nutrition Facts
For a Serving Size of 100 grams ( 100 g)
Calories 41.2 Calories from Fat 0 ( 0 %)
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0 g
Sodium 0 mg 0%
Potassium 200 mg
Carbohydrates 7.1 g
Net carbs 4.7 g
Fiber 2.4 g 10%
Glucose 3.5 g
Protein 2.4 g
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamin A 211.8 μg 24%
Vitamin C 95.3 mg 159%
Calcium 47.1 mg 5%
Iron 0.9 mg 12%
Fatty acids
Amino acids
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Garden Peas Nutrition Facts
For a Serving Size of 100 grams ( 100 g)
Calories 79 Calories from Fat 0 ( 0 %)
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0 g
Sodium 0 mg 0%
Carbohydrates 13.5 g
Net carbs 9 g
Sugar 4.5 g
Fiber 4.5 g 18%
Protein 5.6 g
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamin A IU 449 IU
Vitamin C 6.7 mg 12%
Calcium 0 mg 0%
Iron 1.2 mg 16%
Fatty acids
Amino acids
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs.

Nutritionally there’s not much difference between snow peas and sugar snap peas. It just really depends if you want a crunchier pea pod.

Eating garden peas changes the nutritional balance. Notably, you get much more Vitamin A and less Vitamin C with garden peas.

So if you want more Vitamin C, eat mangetout and eat the whole pod.

Growing Peas

Peas are easy to grow and don’t take a lot of work. You do need to make sure they have adequate support and of course water.

Hopefully this article has helped you to decide what type of peas you want to grow.

My advice, try both snow peas and sugar snap peas but buy your garden peas frozen at the supermarket to avoid the tedious shelling!

If you have any questions or comments then please let us know below.

Your guide to picking, preparing, and cooking Sugar Snap Peas. Everything you have ever wanted to know about snap peas including how to choose, ways to cook them, delicious recipes, and more.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Do you tend to walk right by the snap peas at the grocery store, unsure of what they are and how you’d use them? Or maybe you’ve picked them up to snack on raw, as a naturally sweetened treat for your kids or yourself, but never thought to cook them up, tossing them into your favorite stir-fry or with a simple garlic and soy preparation for a side dish.

If you, like me, are always on the hunt for new, delicious, healthy, and low-calorie ways to prepare vegetables or for new recipes that incorporate veggies you’d really never thought to try, then consider the humble snap pea, also known as the sugar snap pea. Delicious, nutritious, crunchy, crisp, and, quite frankly, not bad to look at, the snap pea is definitely having a moment.

Snap Peas Versus Snow Peas – What’s the Difference?

Although snap peas and snow peas might appear to be interchangeable, as they both have a similar size and shape, belong to the legume family, and grow by climbing up a pole, string, or stalk, they are not the same thing.

Snow peas (also known as Chinese pea pods) are green, flat, and oblong in shape with tiny peas visible through the outside of the pod. They have a mild flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Snap peas are a cross between a snow pea and a garden pea. They can also be eaten whole, raw, or cooked, but they possess a sweet flavor, are juicy, crunchy, and will “snap” when you break them in half. You typically cannot see the peas in a snap pea from the outside of the pod.

The Health Benefits of Snap Peas

While many foods are billed as “perfect,” snap peas might be up there with some of the best in terms of the vitamins, nutrients, and other good-for-you components that this lovely little legume provides. Snap peas contain vitamin K, which helps your bones retain calcium, antioxidants from vitamin C, and a host of B-complex vitamins, plus folate, iron, and beta-carotene (another antioxidant that can help ward off cancer cells).

Snap peas make a wonderful addition to many recipes that call for a steamed or cooked vegetable, but they also make a great snack right out of the bag. Their fiber content keeps you full, while the sweet taste can help curb your sweet tooth. One cup of snap peas contains only 41 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fat, and 3 grams of protein.

Choosing Snap Peas

You can find snap peas in your grocer’s produce department, either loose or pre-packaged in a clear bag (usually next to the bagged lettuce). You’ll want to choose pods based on their bright green color and smooth skin. Do not pick any that are discolored, spotted, or wrinkled.

If you grow snap peas in your garden, you can pick them when they are bright green and smooth. To test for ripeness, harvest one pod 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 the peas are ready to be eaten.

Storing Snap Peas

As with most peas, the sooner snap peas they are eaten, the fresher they will taste. However, snap peas will keep for up to five days in a resealable plastic bag in your refrigerator. Discard individual pods if they start to discolor or lose their firmness.

Preparing & Cooking Snap Peas

It’s best to cook or eat snap peas soon after picking to lock in as much flavor and freshness as possible. You can eat the entire pod raw or cooked, though some people prefer to trim off the ends and pull of the string that runs down the middle of the pods. For best results, rinse the snap peas, trim the ends, and let your imagination run wild. You’ll find that cooking with snap peas is, well, a snap!

  • As a Side: Whip up a fantastic, bright, flavorful side dish with snap peas in less than 10 minutes, like these Garlic Sugar Snap Peas or Sesame Sugar Snap Peas – two of my go-to healthy side dishes. The best part is, you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen, just waiting for the opportunity to transform themselves into something yummy.
  • In Soups and Noodles: Snap peas are an easy ingredient to add to any soup, particularly those that are Asian-inspired, like this Sesame Sugar Snap Pea, Edamame, and Carrot Soba Noodles. They only need a few minutes of cooking time, and you can add them in when your noodles are almost finished – just toss them right in the same pot!
  • In Stir-Fries: In my recipe for Snap Pea and Japanese Eggplant Stir-Fry, I saved time and extra dishes by using the same pan that I seared the tofu in to saute the snap peas and eggplant for just a few minutes before adding the other ingredients back in and serving. This Sesame Tofu and Snap Pea dish is another keeper.
  • In Pasta Dishes: Pasta is like a blank canvas. Why not dress it up with snap peas, garlic, a protein, and a creamy, ooey, gooey, (and don’t forget delicious) low-fat sauce? That’s what I did when I created this recipe for Creamy Snap Pea and Ham Pasta. We also love this Black Pepper and Garlic Snap Pea Pasta and Bacon and Sugar Snap Pea Pasta.
  • Sheet Pan Dinners: Sugar snap peas cook quickly making them perfect for sheet pan meals like this Soy and Mango Marinated Chicken Thighs with Sugar Snap Peas.
  • Salads: Snap peas are a crunchy addition in any green salad and can be added raw, blanched, or cooked. They also make a great addition to entree style salads like this Snap Pea and Farro Salad.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

How to Plant Sugar Snap Peas in the Garden

How to Plant Sugar Snap Peas in the Garden: When I was a young girl growing up on our family farm one of my favorite spring crops from our garden was peas. We grew shelling peas. I didn’t even know snow peas, and sugar snap peas existed until many years later. Fabulous Fred, my hubby, loves to tell the story of when we started dating and he was showing me his vegetable garden. He had an excellent crop of sugar snap peas ready to pick and eat. He picked a few pods and handed them to me. Having never eaten sugar snaps I promptly opened up the pod, ate the peas inside, and discarded the pod. Fred was surprised I discarded the pods. He told me that I could eat the pods in addition to the peas. “No way,” I said. “Yes, you can,” he said, and after a short discourse on the merits of eating the pods, I gingerly tried one. Yummy. Much to my surprise, it was delicious. Crunchy and sweet like the peas inside. Wow, I had been missing out all those years. After all, shelling a huge pile of pea pods and ending up with a few cups of peas, in my opinion, is not the SIS (simple is smart) way. I recommend you grow sugar snap or snow peas and eat the whole pod. Doctor Jo says; the extra fiber keeps the GI track humming along like it’s supposed to. i.e., it helps prevent constipation.

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A Healthy Snack that Can be Enjoyed All Year Long!

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Sugar snap peas are a quintessential part of a spring garden. Ideally, this vegetable is enjoyed fresh or slightly sautéed in order to enjoy the flavor. However, canning sugar snap peas allows for the harvest to be preserved well into the winter months.

The most enjoyable thing about pickled snap peas is the opportunity to experiment with spices, herbs, and the type of vinegar used. Making each time they are preserved an adventure to create a new flavor.
Also, in addition to canning sugar snap peas, think about fermenting them!

Selecting Spices, Herbs, and Vinegar

There once was a time when tested recipes were considered safe for canning. Agencies such as the National Center for Home Food Preservation provided recipes ensuring that the pH balance was met in order for the item to be canned. Creating new recipes, or canning family recipes, was frowned upon.

Luckily, in 2014 the USDA, National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP), Ball, and many extension offices began dropping hints that creating your own recipes is in fact safe. Herbs and spices can be adjusted according to your desired taste. The use of salt can be minimized, and granulated sugar can be swapped for other sweeteners.

Distilled white vinegar has its place in canning pickled items. But for a more sophisticated flavor try a pickled item made with either white wine, red wine, rice, or balsamic vinegars. The most important factor to keep in mind is this, whatever type of vinegar you chose must be 5% acidity or higher.

I advise using herbs and spices sparingly in home canned goods. Over time, the longer canned foods sit, the herbs and spices amplify in flavor. A little goes a long way, especially in canned goods.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

It’s All in the Water

I am a firm believer that spring water is the best water to use for canning. Spring water, whether directly from the source or bottled, does not contain hydrogen sulfide, chlorine, or fluoride. Whereas city water contains both chlorine and fluoride, and wells contain various levels of hydrogen sulfide.
If spring water is not available, boil city water prior to canning, to eliminate any traces of chlorine and fluoride.

Canning Tools

Once pickled, sugar snap peas are considered a highly acidic item, making them able to be canned using a hot water bath canner or steam canner.
My preference is a steam canner. This canner is ideal for glass stovetops, uses two inches of water, minimizes the amount of heat released during the canning process, and safely processes jars through the use of steam.
In addition to a canner, make sure to have the necessary canning tools:

Jar funnel
Jar lifter
Air bubble remover
Non-reactive pots

Regardless if you are canning or cooking, it is best to use non-reactive pots. Aluminum pots are reactive. Meaning, aluminum has a high risk of leaching into food and altering the flavor. Non-reactive pots are copper, stainless steel, and enamel Dutch ovens.

Mason Jars

There are two types of mason jars which are used for canning, wide and regular mouth. When canning sugar snap peas, it is best to use regular mouth jars. The shape of the jar helps to hold the snap peas in place, preventing the snap peas from floating during the canning process.
Canning jars will need to be washed prior to filling them. This process can be done in the dishwasher or by hand with warm soapy water. Ball has stated new jars, ones directly from the package, do not need to be prewashed and are ready to be used.

The NCHFP states that jars are not required to be sterilized unless they are exceptionally dirty. At that point, wash jars, then submerge them in boiling water for 10 minutes prior to using them for canning.

Since the processing time for many home canned foods is at least 10 minutes or more (at 0 to 1,000 ft elevation), the jars are sterilized as they are being processed. Because of this, pre-sterilization of jars is not needed. With that said, if the processing time falls short of 10 minutes, the jars must be sterilized prior to adding food to them.

Determining the Processing Time

The processing time for all home canned goods is based on the elevation in which you reside. Through extensive testing by the National Center for Home Food Preservation, the base processing time for each home canned food is determined. From there, the processing time increases by five minutes based on the elevation. Find your elevation at any of the following websites:

• City website
• Google Maps
• My elevations app

Raw Packing Sugar Snap Peas | Processing time Based on Elevation
0 – 1000 ft. base processing time
1,001 – 6000 ft. increase processing time by five minutes
Above 6,000 ft. increase processing time by 10 minutes

Food not properly processed with the correct processing time runs the risk of spoiling. Keep in mind, no two recipes are the same, the processing time is different for each recipe. For example, the base processing time for canning sugar snap peas is different than the processing time for canning apples.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Pickled Snap Peas


4 pounds sugar snap peas

¼ tsp mustard seeds, per jar

¼ tsp dried dill, per jar (or small sprig of fresh)

1 small clove fresh garlic, per jar

¼ tsp dried red pepper flakes, per jar (optional)

The Brine

4 cups spring water

4 cups white wine vinegar

½ cup pickling salt

Canning Sugar Snap Peas


Hot water bath or steam canner

6 pints, give or take

Air bubble remover

Mini slow cooker (to warm lids)

Clean dish towel

Measuring cups, liquid and dry

12-quart stainless steel stock pot


Wash jars and warm lids for canning.
Prepare the hot water bath canner or steam canner.
Wash and trim the ends from the sugar snap peas.

Make The Brine

Add the white wine vinegar, water, and pickling salt to the stock pot. Bring to a boil.

Fill the Jars

In each jar, add mustard seeds, dried dill weed, fresh garlic, and dried crushed red pepper.

Next, fill jars with sugar snap peas: vertically for the first layer then horizontal to fill. Leave a one-inch headspace from the top of the jar.
With the jar funnel, slowly fill the jars with the hot brine,
leaving a ¼-inch headspace.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Slowly insert the air bubble remover along the inside of the wall of the jar to remove any air bubbles. Fill jar with additional brine if needed.
Wipe jar rims, place warmed lids on jars. Screw on rings to finger-tight. Place jars into canner.

Process pickled snap peas according to your altitude.

Will you be canning sugar snap peas in the near future? If so, let us know how they turned out in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

Originally published in Countryside May/June 2020 and regularly vetted for accuracy.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Need a super quick and easy side dish that everyone – even your pickiest eater, will love? These easy sugar snap peas are ready in less than 20 minutes and require just seven ingredients. What could be simpler?

I love cooking ingredients that are in season and nothing tastes more like summer than sugar snap peas. They’re probably my favorite veggie. I’ve been known to eat them straight from the bag and toss a couple to my sweet little pups. They love them too!

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Also, there is very little prep to snap peas. They do have a string down the back of the pod that is tough and should be removed. It’s very easy to remove the string. Simply cut off the stem end and pull the string down the pod. Done! Even easier is to buy them already prepped.


  • Snap peas are a cross between a snow pea (like you get in your Chinese take out) and an English pea (traditional pea). The English pea is sweet, but the pod is too thick to be eaten. The snow pea has a thin, crunchy pod with tiny peas inside. By combining the two, we are blessed with a sweet, crunchy pod with sweet, plump peas inside that is to be consumed in its entirety.
  • The pod, when broken in half, will make a snapping sound, like a green bean. They have a string down their backs that are tough and should be removed before eating.
  • Sugar snap peas are less starchy than English peas and rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and folate.
  • Sugar snap peas are considered to be the most flavorful variety of peas.
  • They are in season from April through August.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas


  • Slice into halves and toss, raw, into salads.
  • Dip the whole, raw pod into your favorite dip or hummus.
  • Add to your stir-fry and pasta dishes for beautiful textural contrast.
  • Saute or steam them. Take care not to overcook the pods. You want to keep their sweet, tender-crisp texture.


How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas


  • Author: Eats By The Beach
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 – 6 1 x


This is a quick and easy side dish recipe that takes full delicious advantage of seasonal sugar snap peas. Sweet, tender-crisp, and fresh tasting, this recipe is ready in less than 20 minutes.


  • 1 ½ pounds sugar snap peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder


  1. Remove the strings from the sugar snap pods. Cut off the stem end and pull the string down the back of the pod. Set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the snap peas to the skillet.
  4. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder over the peas. Toss the peas to coat each with seasonings and butter.
  5. Saute, tossing often for 3 to 5 minutes until the pods are bright green and crisp tender. I like to stop tossing for the last minute to allow the bottom few to brown just a little. Don’t overcook the peas. You want them to retain both their green color and crispness.
  6. Serve warm.


  • Serving Size: 1

Did you make this recipe?

Here’s a quick video on how to prep your sugar snap peas.

Try these easy sugar snap peas with this recipe for seared sea scallops or these sticky, spicy, sriracha chicken drumsticks.

Harvest sugar snap peas and pop them in your mouth, toss them into salads or cook them as a healthy side dish.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Quick Pickled Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas can be eaten raw, cooked or whole, and they’re a great choice for pickling.

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

Sugar snap peas can be eaten raw, cooked or whole, and they’re a great choice for pickling.

Related To:

Learn how to grow sugar snap peas, and you’ll have tender, fresh peas to eat straight from the garden or to stir-fry, sauté or steam and serve at the table. Give your sugar snap peas a head start by loosening the soil in your garden in the fall. These members of the legume family thrive in well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter, so work in some compost or well-rotted manure. Remove any sticks, rocks or other debris.

If you have clay-like, heavy soil, add some sand to help improve drainage. It’s a good idea to use a soil test kit or ask your extension service agent if he can test your soil for you, so you’ll know if you need any amendments. Sugar snap peas don’t usually need much fertilizer but follow your soil test results.

How and When to Plant Sugar Snap Peas

Plant the pea seeds after the last spring frost, while the temperatures are between about 45 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Sugar snap peas, Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon, are an easy-to-grow, cool weather crop. Insects and diseases don’t usually bother them.

If you live in a cool climate, plant the seeds directly into the garden in a well-drained spot that gets full sun for most of the day. In warm regions, plant them in an area that gets full morning sun and partial shade during the hottest part of the day.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Container Snap Peas

‘Little Crunch’ is a sugar snap pea that grows 24 to 30 inches tall in containers.

Photo by: Renee’s Garden Seeds at

Renee’s Garden Seeds at

‘Little Crunch’ is a sugar snap pea that grows 24 to 30 inches tall in containers.

To help increase your yield and encourage the plants to grow vigorously, apply a powdered inoculant with a beneficial bacterium to the peas. Sprinkle the inoculant over the pea seeds when you’re planting them or dust them with it before you plant.

Plant the pea seeds 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep and about 2 inches apart, with 18 to 24 inches between rows, or follow the directions on your seed package for the variety you’re growing. Rows of bush sugar snaps can usually be planted 12 to 18 inches apart. Most varieties will sprout in seven to 10 days. In some areas, you can plant pea seeds in the summer, about two months before the first fall frost. Don’t worry if the temperatures dip below freezing or a light frost hits after the peas sprout. They can tolerate cold and frost for short periods of time.

Once the plants are up, water them enough to keep the soil evenly moist, and expect to water more often if rain is scarce. Mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and prevent weeds from popping up. Hoe lightly to weed or simply pull weeds and grasses by hand.

Choose from climbing or bush sugar snap pea varieties. Bush peas can grow to three feet tall, so give them something to climb on or they’ll sprawl onto the ground. Varieties that are compact enough to grow in containers may not need supports at all. Climbing varieties can reach six to eight feet in height and should be trellised. Since the pea tendrils will wrap around supports about 1/4-inch in diameter, add twine, string, small wire mesh or netting to the trellis to help them climb.

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Oh sugar snap peas, how we’ve missed you. But now, you’re back — crisp, crunchy, and green as ever. Discover the best (and easiest) ways to cook, prep, and enjoy this signature spring veggie below.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Escape that winter funk and get back into your cooking groove by learning how to cook sugar snap peas. As a cross between garden peas (aka sweet peas or English peas) and snow peas, the sugar snap variety is deliciously crunchy and sweet. The entire pod (including the thick, plump shell) is edible and can be enjoyed in either raw or cooked form. Oftentimes, you’ll spot a tough string at the stem, which you may want to remove before taking a bite. Other than that, virtually no prep work is required.

Although there are countless ways to enjoy this spring gem, roasting them with a sprinkle of Parmesan, stacking them tall on ricotta toast, and pickling them with a range of herbs and spices are our three favorite variations. Now the only question is… which to try first?

1. Black Pepper Parmesan Snap Pea Chips

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Roasting sugar snap peas amplifies their sweetness and lends an extra crispy crunch to the veggie. Here, we’re coating them with a healthy drizzle of olive oil before topping with grated Parmesan and garlic powder for a salty, fragrant touch. Serve as an easy side dish, finger food, or after-school snack for the kids.


  • 1/2 Pound Snap Peas
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place sugar snap peas in a single layer on a baking sheet linked with aluminum foil or parchment paper (makes cleanup that much easier).
  2. Coat peas with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. Toss to coat thoroughly.
  3. Bake until crispy, 7-8 minutes.

2. Pickled Sugar Snap Peas

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

The perfect marriage between sweet and tangy — that’s what happens when you pickle sugar snap peas in a simple brine of vinegar, water, herbs, spices, and aromatics. Added bonus for the fact that pickling preserves these spring veggies so you can enjoy ’em well past their peak.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas


  • Sugar Snap Peas (enough to fill a 1-quart jar), ends snapped off and strings removed
  • 3-4 Small Sprigs Fresh Dill
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1/4 Teaspoon White Peppercorns
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 4 Cups Water, divided in half
  • 2 Cups White Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Salt
  • Optional: 1 Dried Red Chile Pepper (or pinch of chile flakes)


  1. Pack sugar snap peas in a jar along with herbs, spices, and garlic.
  2. In a small pot, heat 2 cups water, vinegar, salt, and sugar until salt and sugar are dissolved, then stir in 2 cups cold water.
  3. Pour brine over peas, then seal and refrigerate 24 hours. When stored in the fridge, they’ll keep for up to 2 months.

3. Honey Thyme Ricotta Toast With Snap Peas

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are perfectly crunchy and crisp enough to stand on their own, and this recipe lets them shine in all their raw deliciousness. In fact, the only “cooking” required is to thinly slice the veggies, toast the French bread, and whip up the creamy, sweet, and herb-studded ricotta mixture. And then the assembly, of course.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas


  • 1 Baguette
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Thyme
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 Pound Sugar Snap Peas, thinly sliced on a diagonal


  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Slice baguette into 1/4 inch rounds and brush cut side with olive oil. Bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes, watching closely to ensure bread doesn’t burn. Once browned, remove from oven and transfer to a platter.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, honey, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  3. Top each slice of French bread with a spoonful of ricotta cheese mixture, then add sliced sugar snap peas.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over top and season to taste with extra salt and black pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.

Looking to expand your pea knowledge? Check out 5 Easy Ways to Cook Peas.

Enjoy this spring vegetable beyond the season

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Leda Meredith / The Spruce

Sugar snap peas are a fantastic spring treat, only in season for a few weeks, and naturally sweet enough to snack on raw. But what if you want to enjoy them beyond their brief spring season?

Freezing is the solution. If you just stick a bunch of raw sugar snap peas into the freezer, however, you’ll end up with is a slightly slimy, partially discolored (brownish) vegetable. Not very appealing! But if you take just a few minutes to blanch before freezing, you’ll end up with a treat that is ready to munch on right after they are thawed. Or they can be deliciously incorporated into stir-fries and other savory dishes straight from the freezer, as it is not necessary to thaw frozen sugar snap peas before cooking them.

Why Blanch?

Blanching is the process of cooking the vegetable briefly in boiling water and then plunging it into an ice water bath (to stop the cooking). It is an important step when freezing sugar snap peas since blanching the sugar snap pea pods destroys enzymes whose job it is to decompose organic matter once the pods are plucked from the parent plant. Although the cold temperatures inside the freezer cancel out harmful bacteria, they do not destroy those enzymes. The blanching step takes care of that.

Steps to Freeze

There are a few steps to follow when freezing sugar snap peas, but it is worth it.

This Roasted Sugar Snap Peas recipe is healthy and full of fiber and protein! Perfectly roasted, simply seasoned, and slightly sweet, this easy side dish is always a hit.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Easy Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

This roasted sugar snap peas recipe is one of our favorite sides during the warm summer months when fresh peas are in season. Roasted with a bit of olive oil and tossed with the perfect amount of seasoning, this simple veggie dish has a ton of flavor.

Are Sugar Snap Peas Healthy?

Yes! Even though they have the word “sugar” in their name, these peas make a super healthy snack or side dish. They are high in fiber, which means they’ll fill you up faster and you won’t eat as much. They’re also low in calories, have vitamin C, and have almost 2 grams of protein per 1 cup serving.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

How to Remove the String from Sugar Snap Peas

The only complaint I’ve ever heard about sugar snap peas is the stringy fiber that runs the length of a snap pea. However, you can easily remove this string while trimming and enjoy snap peas with no complaints! Here’s how:

  • Using your finger tip, snap off the stem of the snap pea.
  • The stem will come loose but remain attached by the string
  • Pull the stem down along the snap pea until the string comes off completely

Recipe Ingredients

We’re going to grab simple ingredients for this simple and fresh side dish.

This is all you’ll need:

  • trimmed sugar snap peas
  • sliced red onion
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • Italian Seasoning
  • salt and fresh ground pepper

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

How to Make Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

  1. Prep: Preheat your oven to 425˚ F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Arrange sugar snap peas and red onions on the baking sheet.
  3. Coat: Drizzle with olive oil and mix around until everything is coated.
  4. Combine: Add garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir around to combine.
  5. Roast: Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crisp tender, stirring once during cooking.
  6. Serve: Remove the sugar snap peas from the oven and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Roasted snap peas are a perfect side dish with almost anything! I like to serve them on the side of a piece of protein, like these balsamic chicken breasts, and a starch like roasted potato wedges. Or, with a nice steak and some mashed potatoes. How about with ribs or pork chops and corn on the cob? Really, you can’t go wrong.

They’re also an excellent addition tossed in any stir fry, whether it’s chicken, pork, steak, or shrimp. Then, serve it all over some jasmine rice and top with sesame seeds and scallions.

I also love to toss sugar snap peas with some super fragrant EVOO and my favorite pasta or zoodles.

Since they are a source of fiber and protein, they go great in any vegetarian meal, too! You can even enjoy them on their own as a nice little snack.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

How to store and reheat leftovers

Roasted sugar snap peas can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for about 3 days. To reheat them, you can return them to a baking sheet and warm them on low heat. Or, you can enjoy them cold on a salad!

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Crunchy, sweet, and garden staples, snap peas are summer favorites. Here’s how to make the most of snap peas season this summer.

Snap Peas Season 411

Snap peas, also called sugar snap peas, are a cross between snow peas and green peas. The hybrid variety was introduced in the late 1970s after high consumer demand for an edible pod version of snow peas. The result was a sweeter, crunchier version (with no shelling required) quickly named sugar snap peas.

Snap peas season begins early spring and lasts until about July, or until temperatures reach the mid 80s. Snap peas can easily be grown in the garden and can make any garden trellis seriously beautiful.

Snap peas can be harvested when pods start to fall of the vine, but are better picked early rather than late. If left on the vines for too long, snap pea pods and peas can become tough.

After snap peas are picked, the sugar within their pods is quickly converted into starch rendering a less sweet, and tougher pea pod. For the freshest snap peas, eat (or freeze) within a few days of picking.

At the farmers market, choose snap peas that look plump, vibrantly green, and young. The pod should be free from blemishes, marks, or wilted yellow leaves.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Health Benefits of Snap Peas

Like other green vegetables, snap peas pack in a lot of nutrition. Snap peas contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, K, A, folate, riboflavin, niacin, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Snap peas also contain protein and healthy ALA omega-3 fatty acids.

The vitamin C content of snap peas is especially noteworthy: just one cup of snap peas contains roughly 98 percent of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin C. This vitamin is essential for repairing tissue, combating free radical damage, and aiding in the absorption of dietary iron.

Snap peas are also very good sources of dietary fiber. As a member of the legume family, the snap pea contains a hardy amount of fiber to aid in digestive regularity and to keep satiety in between meals.

Several anti-inflammatory phytonutrients are found in snap peas (and other green peas) including saponins, phenolic acids, and flavanols. These compounds exhibit antioxidant effects and are associated with lowered risk of several diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

Easy step by step instructions on how to presprout and grow Sugar Snap Peas. By doing this you’ll be sure that the seeds won’t rot before they sprout under the soil resulting in a successful plant and many pounds of sugar snap peas to pick!

How to Grow Sugar Snap Peas

Presprouting Sugar Snap Peas is a important step to growing big Sugar Snap Pea plants. By doing this you’ll be sure that the seeds won’t rot before they sprout under the soil (due to temperature). It also guarantees that you won’t be wasting your time planting some seeds that might not even sprout at all causing you to wait and fall back in the garden season schedule.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Germinating peas

This is our quick and easy method for presprouting peas. We’ve been doing this for the past many years with a successful sugar snap pea harvest twice a year.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Step 1: Drop your peas in a bowl of water to get them wet.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Step 2: Dampen a full sheet of paper towel. Put your peas in the middle of the paper towel and wrap up, like a envelope.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Step 3: Put the peas in a plastic bag or covered container. Check on the peas daily. If you notice the paper towel is getting dry, add a few drops of water to make sure it stays wet.

Step 4: The peas will take a few days to sprout. On average ours take 3-4 days to sprout.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Once they sprout then plant them as usual in your garden bed or ground. I also recommend a good inoculant (that’s the one we use) on your peas when planting.

Growing Peas

After the peas are germinated, then you can plant them straight into your garden beds or soil. We dig a little trench in the soil and throw the peas in, usually about 3 inches apart. Then we’ll cover them up, push down on the soil gently with our hands and then sprinkle them with water. Here’s my walk through on how to plant peas!

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Then you wait for the first one to pop through the soil which usually takes over a week. It’s a exciting time where every day you will run to the garden to see the first one. Once the first one pops up the others will follow quickly.

And soon enough you’ll have pounds of sugar snap peas to pick and eat!

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Pea Recipes

More Garden Tips

Hope you enjoyed this easy trick to get your garden sugar snap peas started!

Sugar snap peas, mangetout (French) or simply snap peas refer to nutritious legume cultivars that have a round shaped edible pea pods as opposed to the snow peas that have flat, thicker pods. Their plants are climbers and thrive in cool seasons.

These peas have carbs, proteins, vitamins (A, B complex, C, E, and K) as well as minerals including calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc. All these are very important nutrients not only to human beings but also to your rabbits.

Can rabbits have them?

Yes, bunnies can eat sugar snap peas[1] as an occasional treat while they are still fresh, green or immature, i.e., their peas are still small. Avoid dried ones since they may cause a choking hazard and they are not healthy. They can also have their plant (leave and stem) since they are safe too, i.e., both their green pods and plant are safe to rabbits.

Obviously, there are a lot of nutritional benefits they stand to gain if they munch them. However, you need to know the right amounts and how to properly introduce them. Excessive amounts may cause soft stool (diarrhea) among other intestinal upsets.

How to Eat Sugar Snap PeasAre sugar snap peas OK for rabbits?

While in your garden, bunnies will damage the leaves and stem of these peas. Therefore, they need to be protected. In fact, these pets can eat various legume plants including alfalfa, clovers, peanuts, and peas. However, legume hay is not recommended unless you have growing or expectant bunnies since it has higher amounts of calcium and proteins.

Feeding your bunnies with these peas

We have already clarified that these legumes are safe. However, you need to ensure you only feed them fresh ones and begin with small amounts. Wash them under running water to get rid of any remnant farm chemical. An organic source will even be more recommended.

When introducing them, begin with small amounts and introduce only one new food at a time gradually over a period of not less than one week. Check for any signs of a soft stool or stomach upsets after 24 hours before you begin increasing the amount given.

Secondly, you need to know the right amounts to give your pet even after they have been successfully introduced.

For the case of the leafy part, usually, you need to give your rabbit a mixture of 5-6 different types of leafy greens or vegetables. Two cups of this chopped mixture are enough for a rabbit that is about four pounds and you can include the peas plant and leaves in this mixture.

However, for the pods, keep the amount to about 2 tablespoons for a bunny weight four pounds. This should be the same case for any other non-leafy vegetables and fruit treats [2]. Only give them one treat in a day. This will technically be about one or two pods.

Also, keep varying the various fresh foods you give your bunny so that it benefits from the various nutrients they have. However, you need to include only one of those that have high oxalic acids such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens and so on.


These pea pods are safe for your bunnies, so is their plants. However, remember to introduce them correctly and in their correct amounts. Do not replace them with their regular diets even if they end up loving them so much.

How to Eat Sugar Snap PeasHarvest green peas when they are young and tender. They will become hard and starchy if left on the vine too long. Green peas are best shelled and cooked within an hour of harvest.

Harvest edible-pod peas when the peas are just beginning to form; when the outline of the pea is just visible in the pod.

Types of Peas

There are three kinds of peas: garden peas, snap peas, and snow peas.

  • Green peas, also called garden peas and English peas or green peas, are the peas you eat without a pod. There are two kinds of green peas—small-seeded type, also called petit pois, for eating fresh and freezing and large-seeded type that are shelled and used as dry peas; large-seeded peas are also called soup peas.
  • Snap peas, sometimes called sugar snap peas, are tender, sweet, and can be eaten pod and all.
  • Snow peas, also called Chinese peas or Asian peas or sugar peas, also can be eaten pod and all.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Harvest edible-pod snow peas while pods are immature and still flat—before the seeds begin to fill out.

When to Harvest Peas

  • Peas will be ready for harvest 55 to 70 days after sowing.
  • Grow peas to maturity in late spring or early summer and in autumn—when temperatures are in the 60°s to 70°sF (15°+–21°+C). Peas must mature before the weather gets hot.
  • Harvest garden or shelling peas when the pods are fully developed but still bright green. Before picking, taste garden peas for sweetness—taste them every day after the pods have begun to fill. They should be sweet and tender and slightly larger than the dry seed you planted. Don’t wait too long; once garden peas reach maturity they rapidly decline in quality, start to yellow, and become inedible as fresh peas within one to three days.
  • Garden peas picked too soon will lack sweetness. Over mature peas will be starchy and have tough skins. If you wait too long and peas begin to yellow and the pods become tough, leave them to dry on the vine and use as dry, soup peas.
  • Peas for shelling should be shelled immediately after picking or cooled immediately after picking—submerge them in cold water—for shelling later. Shelled peas are most flavorful eaten soon after harvest—otherwise, the quality declines rapidly.
  • Harvest sugar snap peas any time after peas begin to form in the pod and continue picking until the pods are fully elongated, about 3 inches (7 cm) long. Sugar snap peas are most flavorful if picked at about half full size, about a week after flowering. Both the peas and the pods will be very sweet.
  • Harvest edible-pod snow peas or Asian peas while pods are immature and still flat—before the seeds begin to fill out. Harvest snow peas every other day to keep pods from getting too big. Snow peas that get too large will be tough. Some snow pea varieties have fibrous string along the edges of the pods; remove the strings before cooking. Snow peas can be eaten whole pod and all or shelled just like garden peas.
  • Harvest pea shoots or tendrils (used for stir-fries or steaming) when shoots are about 6 inches (15 cm) long. Cut the shoots from the vine. Edible-pod pea varieties have the tastiest shoots. Shoots that are leafless are usually tender and sweeter than leafy shoots.
  • English peas mature rapidly in the pod than sugar snap and snow peas. It’s always best to check peas every day or two to know exactly when to pick.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Keep plants well picked to encourage more pods to develop.

How to Harvest Peas

  • Pick peas with two hands. Secure the vine with one hand then pinch the stem of each pod and pull with the other hand. Don’t tug or jerk pods away; pea plants hang on to their support with thin tendrils so a heavy hand can dislodge the plant from its support.
  • Pick peas in the morning after the dew has dried. That is when they will be crisp and crunchy for fresh eating.
  • Peas must be promptly cooled to maintain freshness and to preserve sugar content (the sugar in peas quickly turns to starch after harvest unless cooled). Cooled peas will hold their quality for more than a week in the refrigerator.
  • Remove garden or field heat from peas after picking by dunking then in a cold water bath until pods are chilled then dry and refrigerate.
  • Keep plants well picked to encourage more pods to develop. If you miss the peak harvest (check the days to maturity), you can still pick, dry, and shell peas for use in winter soups. Quality for fresh eating, declines rapidly one maturity is reached.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Peas will keep in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

EASY Step by Step Instructions on how to freeze Sugar Snap Peas without blanching! This is a simple way to preserve your Summer Sugar Snap Peas to last for months without needing to can them! I love freezing peas to use in Winter soups, casseroles and stir fry meals!

We always grow sugar snap peas twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. With close to a hundred plants, we end up with big harvests, often picking over 10 pounds of peas a week. With that many peas it’s hard to keep up with eating them fresh so I wanted to show you how I freeze them to last for months. Often I don’t have the extra time to blanch and dry the peas, so this is a easy no fuss way to freeze sugar snap peas without blanching. (PS. What else works great this way? Bok Choy!)

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Steps to freeze sugar snap peas without blanching.
Step 1: Preferably don’t clean them. If you grow your own then you probably have no reason to wash them. If you have to, make sure you dry them completely.
Step 2: Destring each pea pod. This is what takes the most time. Make sure to remove strings on both sides.
Step 3: Cut each pea into 2 pieces.
Step 4: Put peas in a freezer bag and label it.
Step 5: Try to seal the bag as best as you can. I use the straw method which is inserting a straw into the bag and zipping it up to straw, sucking all the air out, quickly removing the straw and closing bag completely.

Now let’s start destringing these peas!
How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

This is the longest part of the process, but once you get in a good destringing rhythm, you’ll be done in no time.
How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Now you’ll have a whole bunch of peas.
How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Cut each pea into 2 pieces.
How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Put them in a bag and suck the heck out of that air.
How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Close the bag and freeze them! They’re ready for you in the freezer whenever you need some peas!
How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Enjoy and freeze away!

Use these in vegetable dishes just like you’d use other frozen vegetables. They still have that nice crunch even after freezing them!

No taste brings you back to the garden more quickly than a sweet and crunchy pea pod. Sugar snap peas were introduced in 1979 as an alternative to the snow pea. These peas resemble snow peas but they have a sweeter taste and a plumper pod. Find fresh sugar snap peas at your local grocery store and at farmers markets.

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil over high heat.

Add the sugar snap pea pods and boil them for 30 seconds.

Remove a pea pod from the water and test it. If it is crisp but tender enough to eat, the pea pods are ready. If they are still too firm, continue cooking the pea pods for up to two more minutes.


Fill a stockpot halfway full of water and bring it to boil over high heat on the stove.

Place the steamer basket over the pot and place the pea pods into the basket with tongs. Be careful to avoid the steam as it is very hot and can cause serious burns.

Place the lid on the pot and steam the pea pods for five to six minutes, or until they are crisp but tender enough to eat.


Place the sugar snap pea pods in a microwave steamer bag, which is a plastic bag designed to steam vegetables in the microwave. Find steamer bags where you buy plastic storage bags in your supermarket.

Place the bag in the microwave and heat on 100 percent power for five to six minutes, or until the pea pods are tender but still crisp.

Allow the pea pods to sit for a minute before you open the bag. The steam from the pea pods will be very hot and can cause serious burns.

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.

Brighten up your summer dishes with a handful of crisp, sweet sugar snap peas. Serve them in seasonal salads, stir-fries, pasta dishes and more.

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How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

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How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas

People have been picking and eating peas for generations, but sugar snap peas are a fairly new kind. The fibers in the pod of the snap peas, unlike those in garden peas, make them edible. Super crunchy and luscious, snap peas make a tasty vegetable side meal or veggie snack, plus they’re extremely low in calories and an excellent source of iron, fiber, iron, vitamin C, and protein.

Unlike garden peas, edible pods such as sugar snap peas have about half the carbohydrates per serving and are particularly abundant in dietary fiber. Sugar snap peas, also identified as snap peas, are a hybrid of garden peas and snow peas. They usually have crunchier and more luscious pods.

Today’s article is going to focus specifically on snap peas and their nutritional profile, the health benefits associated with them, how to choose the right ones, and how to cook some at home. Let’s get started, shall we?

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

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Are Sugar Snap Peas Healthy?

Yes, sugar snap peas are healthy. In fact, they are one of the healthiest non-starchy veggies you can find on this planet. They have several health benefits, but we’re going to get to that in the next section. In addition to being super good for you, they make ideal snacks filled with essential nutrients.

As aforementioned, these highly nutritious and tasty peas are an excellent source of vitamin C, an essential antioxidant that helps shield your body against malady while promoting healthy skin . Sounds too good to be true, right? Let’s take a look at the benefits, and you’ll find out for yourself.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Snap Peas Health Benefits

Most people are unaware of the many benefits that snap peas offer, but hopefully, this article will shed enough light on the matter to help them see the upsides of including these healthy treats into your diet.

1. Immunity Boosting: Snap peas are rich in beta vitamin A and carotene. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in the growth of our immune cells, which work endlessly to fight off malicious intruders and keeps us in top condition.

2. Promotes Healthy Bones: Snap peas are a prominent source of vitamin K, which has been proved to not only support the generation of new bone cells but also prevent fractures.

3. Guilt-free Snack: The nutrients in sugar snap peas make it the ultimate guilt-free snack. Unlike sugary snacks, they won’t destabilize your blood sugar. To the contrary, they can help in the prevention of diabetes. Furthermore, they also help reduce fat, so you can lose a lot while satiating your sweet tooth.

4. Preventing Fatigue: Snap peas contain about 18% of the daily suggested intake of iron in a single cup. Iron has been proven to decrease fatigue, even in non-iron deficient individuals.

5. Fiber Intake: Sugar snap peas contain dietary fiber and protein. A diet rich in protein and fiber is the ultimate formula for a well-balanced weight-loss regime providing lasting results. Furthermore, snap peas can also be mixed with lima beans to generate a complete amino acid profile.


People that don’t usually get an adequate amount of nutrients (vitamins & minerals) from their everyday meals, snap peas can help you fill in the gaps. For example, you need vitamin C to help restore certain tissues. It is also a powerful antioxidant that preserves your cells from harm by free radicals. In addition, folate, which is a B vitamin promotes new cell growth.

Pregnant women need sufficient quantities of folate to prevent spinal cord defects in their children. Lastly, potassium is a vital mineral responsible for building proteins and muscles.


Sugar snap peas are comparatively abundant in fiber, which is necessary for your overall well-being. Fiber can promote digestive wellness by preventing costiveness. Furthermore, fiber promotes feelings of fullness and may aid in weight loss.

Sugar Snap Peas vs. Other Peas

Snow peas are also referred to as Chinese pea pods are flat with very tiny peas lodged inside; the whole thing is edible. Snow peas are usually unflavored and can be consumed either raw or roasted.

Another form of peas is Garden peas. The pods inside are thick and rounded. They are usually removed before consumption. Like snow peas, these peas are luscious and may be ingested uncooked or roasted.

Now, moving on to sugar snap peas. Like snow peas, the whole pod is consumable; however, unlike snow peas, snap peas have an attractive crunchy texture and really rich flavor. Like both parents, snap peas can be consumed uncooked or cooked.

How to Cook Sugar Snap Peas

How to Eat Sugar Snap PeasYou thought we forgot about that part, didn’t you? Cooking snap peas are so simple that you’ll find yourself doing it over and over again. Although they are delicious by themselves, they also make great side dishes. Today, we’re going to learn how to make Sautéed Sugar Snap Peas. Gather your ingredients; let’s get to cooking.


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh sugar snap peas
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt


  1. Remove the stalk end and string from each sugar snap pod.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wide pan over medium-high temperature.
  3. Add the salt, sugar snap peas, and pepper, stirring and tossing regularly for 4 to 6 minutes until the sugar snap peas are tender.
  4. Transfer the sugar snap peas in another bowl, and sprinkle with sea salt and voila!
  • Total: 20 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 5 min
  • Yield: 6 servings

How Can You Tell When Peas are Fresh

If you are not planning on getting your peas at a grocery store, knowing when they are ready to be picked is crucial. The best way to know when snap peas are ready is to actually taste them each day until your tastebuds give you that green light. Then, you’ll know when to harvest.

To give you an idea of how long the maturing process takes, snap peas should be for harvest about 3 weeks following the flowers’ appearance. Edible pod peas, such as sugar snap peas, are ripe when they are 2-3 inches long before the seeds begin to enlarge.

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Here are some tips on how to grow sugar snap peas, including planting sugar snap pea seeds and seedlings, how to care for sugar snap pea plants, and how to harvest sugar snap peas.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Can you remember picking sugar snap peas with your grandmother? It seems as though at one time, sugar snap peas where a backyard staple. Not only are they easy to grow, flavorful, and fun to pick, but they can be enjoyed in so many ways including fresh off the vine. If you are considering planting sugar snap peas in your garden, take a look at these helpful tips on how to grow sugar snap peas. These tips will have you growing sugar snap peas in no time, and sure to make grandma proud!

How to Grow Sugar Snap Peas

How to plant sugar snap pea seeds and seedlings:

Because sugar snap peas can be planted in cooler temperatures (it should be a constant 45 F or more) there is no need to start seeds indoors. Since they also have fragile roots, planting directly outdoors once the temperature is as noted is advised.

Plant when the threat of frost has passed, and soil is no longer hard but easy to till and soften. When you are ready to plant, choose a spot that gets moderate sun; however, full sun isn’t desired or advised. Sugar snap peas don’t like a great deal of heat, so a part shade area of your yard is even fine.

When planting, you want to plant the seeds in rows. Rows should be spaced about 12 inches apart, while individual seeds should be planted 1 inch deep and about 2 inches apart. This gives the sugar snap pea plants the room they need to stretch their legs!

You can offer fertilizer upon planting, and offer it again 3-4 weeks later once the seedlings are established. At this time you can thin out struggling seedlings if you wish.

All this said, can snap peas be planted in containers? Sure! You want to give them lots of space so only a few plants per 12 inch container is advised. You should also add some type of support such as stakes or a trellis so seedlings can grip onto something as they grow.

General sugar snap pea care tips:

You will be amazed at how easy grow sugar snap peas is. Maybe that is why they use to be so popular? Offering mulch around the base of the plants will protect shallow roots, keep the soil moisture rich, and can even help keep the plant cool on super hot days. Keep mulch on hand so you can add it around the base as needed.

Your sugar snap pea plants will enjoy weekly watering that amount to a good 2 inches of water per week. Avoid watering the foliage and try to keep all of the water at the base of the plant where the roots will be looking for it.

Pests may be a problem, as word gets out that your garden is growing some yummy snacks. Keep chicken wire or netting around your pea plants so that you don’t have to worry about critters diving into them. Using a food safe insect spray can help keep bugs from devouring your plants as well.

Continue to provide regular pest and weed care (pulling gently so not to disturb roots) until your sugar snap peas are ready to harvest!

How to harvest snap peas:

In as little as a month your snap peas can be ready to go. There are a few things to look for when deciding if your snap peas are ready to be harvested. Here are the tried and true tips some farmers swear by when it comes to snap pea picking:

– The outer shell will be tender.

– The inside of the pod will be swollen with ready to eat peas

– The pod may smell sweet

– The pod will taste sweet, be tender, and is easy to chew.

When you notice that snap peas meet these requirements, pick them and enjoy. If you wait too long they could dry out and become tough, making them bitter and inedible. Pick daily so that new pods can flourish and none of these precious peas go to waste!

As you can see, sugar snap peas can be fun and easy to grow and enjoyable to eat. Try them in salads and stir fry or simply enjoy them fresh for a summer treat!

Try these tips on how to grow sugar snap peas and see what an enjoyable vegetable they can be to grow.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

This roasted sugar snap peas recipe makes a healthy and satisfying side dish or easy vegan snack.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

As I am teaching myself to eat seasonally, it’s so fun how much I’m learning about new fruits and vegetables.

I was definitely one of those people who had no idea what season anything was (I could probably have told you corn was a summer thing and pumpkins were a fall thing, and that’s about it), but as I try to pay attention to what my stores, farmers markets, and CSA have at different times of year, I am getting much better at realizing that there is a strong season to many things.

One of those things is sugar snap peas – definitely a spring and summer vegetable! At least if you judge by when they start showing up in my CSA box.

I had tried them before in stir-fries and things and thought they were ok but had a certain aftertaste I didn’t love. But now I’ve figured out how to make them the way I like them and they’re really tasty!

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Fortunately, the way I like them is also really easy.

Just “string” them (this means snapping off the little leafy stem part and pulling down until the string along the edge comes off – it will make perfect sense once you try it) and then toss them with a bit of olive oil, some thyme, salt, and pepper.

You can also add a pinch of garlic powder if you like that kind of thing.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Then spread them out on a cookie sheet and roast them at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes until they are just starting to brown.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

That’s it! These make a great, healthy side dish. Incidentally, you can use this exact technique to cook asparagus, another spring/summer vegetable that makes an awesome side dish!

Related Articles

Sugar snap peas contain seeds that are covered by a pod. This places them in a class of vegetables known as legumes. When it comes to consumption, sugar snap peas can be left as they are, steamed, pureed or chopped up and added to salads. If you are looking to improve your health, sugar snap peas are good options to include in your diet.

Vitamin C Content

One of the most notable health benefits of sugar snap peas is they are high in vitamin C. This water-soluble, antioxidant vitamin speeds wound healing, boosts immunity and also aids in the production of collagen. Sugar snap peas contain 60 milligrams per 100-gram serving. The recommended intake of vitamin C is 90 milligrams for males over 19 years old and 75 milligrams for females of this same age group. Water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C continually get flushed out of the body. However, getting too much can actually have a negative impact. Amounts that reach the 2,000-milligram level per day can cause gas, diarrhea, nausea and other forms of gastrointestinal discomfort.

High in Fiber

Consuming fiber-rich foods brings multiple benefits to the body. Not only does dietary fiber help control cholesterol and blood-glucose levels, it also helps fill you up, which is beneficial for weight loss and maintenance. A 100-gram serving of sugar snap peas contains just under 3 grams of fiber. The daily recommendation of fiber for men up to 50 years old is 38 grams. Men 51 and older should aim for 30 grams. Women up to 50 years old should get 25 grams, while women 51 and up should consume 21 grams. When adding more fiber to your diet, gradually increase your intake to avoid gas and bloating, according to the Mayo Clinic.

High in Vitamin A

Vitamin A is another antioxidant vitamin, which is known for its ability to promote good eyesight and keep the connective tissue strong. Sugar snap peas contain 1,087 international units of vitamin A per 100 grams. This translates to about 326 micrograms. The recommended intake of this vitamin is 900 micrograms a day for males over 14 and 700 micrograms a day for females in this same age group. Mega doses of vitamin A taken in a short amount of time can cause side effects, such as vomiting, nausea, blurred vision and headaches. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, this is mostly the case when supplemental vitamin A is taken.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, which gets stored in the fat cells of the body. It is best known for its ability to promote blood clotting. A 100-gram serving of sugar snap peas contains 25 micrograms. The recommended daily amount of vitamin K is 120 micrograms for men over 19 years old and 90 micrograms for women in this same age group. High amounts of vitamin K can cause damage to the liver and break down red blood cells.

B Vitamins

Sugar snap peas have a moderate amount of multiple B vitamins. These help break down protein, carbohydrates and fat into energy, and they also aid nerve function and promote red blood cell production. A 100-gram serving of the peas contains 15 percent of the recommended daily value of pantothenic acid, 12 1/2 percent of thiamin, 12 percent of pyridoxine and 10 1/2 percent of folate.


Iron and manganese each have specific functions in the body. Iron is important for oxygen transport and manganese helps with blood sugar support, calcium absorption, hormone production and nerve function. Sugar snap peas have moderate amounts of both minerals. A 100-gram serving contains 26 percent of the daily recommend value of iron and 10 1/2 percent of the recommended intake of manganese.

Eating More Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are an, um, snap to add to your diet. Keep it simple by eating them raw as a snack, paired with hummus, artichoke dip or your favorite dressing. Include them in your stir fries, too — they go especially well with stir fries featuring broccoli, red pepper and baby corn. Or use them to make a fresh and crunchy salad. Simply cut the pod into slices and toss with your favorite leafy greens, with a handful of fresh mint for bright flavor.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Snap peas are one of the world’s finest vegetables. Perfectly crispy. Great when cooked (but even better raw). Gently sweet. Pleasingly vegetal. They check off every box of a top tier vegetable should.

There is one tiny itsy-bitsy caveat: the strings. You know what we’re talking about, right? That little strings that run up the side of a snap pea shell. They’re impossible to chew and incredibly annoying when lodged between your teeth.

Removing them is an extra step on the path to that primo snap pea experience, but if you don’t do it, you’re going to be dealing with a less-than-ideal situation and a real need for dental floss. So here’s a quick run-through to get rid of those strings and start crunching as soon as possible.

Because the two strings run along the concave side, position the pea so that the convex side faces you. It should look like like a smile, not a frown.

Using a paring knife, make a small slit—from the convex side to the concave side (so you’ll be cutting away from your body) on each end of the shell, near the tip, but don’t cut all the way through. You want the tips to stay attached so that you can use them as a handle for this next step.

The tips should be dangling, attached to the concave side of the shell. Just grab them and pull along that side. The string will pull off of the shell easily, and once you’ve pulled the first tip and discarded the pesky string, pull the second tip in the opposite direction.

You could also do this whole process without a knife. A paring knife will get you a tidier, more attractive snap pea because it makes for a neater pull, but you can go ahead and just rip off the tips of the peas without slicing them. Just remember to pull back in the opposite direction to remove the second string.

Yes, it’s extra effort. Yes, it’s delayed gratification. And yes, it’s worth it. Because the best things in life require a little bit of work. And the flavor and texture of this vegetable is surely one of life’s best things.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas

Ok, so here it is….my all time favorite crop to grow in my garden!! Yep, it is sugar snap peas.

There are several reasons why I love growing and harvesting sugar snap peas:

  • They are super easy to grow.
  • They are pretty much disease resistant.
  • You can grow them from seeds and it cost you very little to grow a ton of sugar snap peas.
  • It’s fun to get the family involved. Peas grow very fast and you can harvest anywhere from 6-8 weeks after planting.
  • Nothing taste better then fresh sugar snap peas right out of the garden.
  • They make a perfect snack, just pick and eat.
  • They only take 5 minutes to cook up and make a terrific side dish to any meal.
  • They are good for you!

With all of these reasons, why wouldn’t everyone grow them right? I have been asking myself that question for years. Sugar snap peas is hands down the easiest and tastiest legume to grow in your garden!

Growing Sugar Snap Peas

I have an article over at Whole Lifestyle Nutrition that dives into growing sugar snap peas and I highly recommend reading it to help you with your success of growing these little gems. You can find it here:

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Growing On A Vertical Frame

I also have a great video in this post showing you how to build a vertical frame for your peas for less than $10 and in as little as five minutes time.

Peas like to climb and they can support themselves but won’t grow or produce as much because they tangle themselves up a bit. I have found that growing peas vertically produces the most yield at harvest time.

Here is a video that I did last summer showing my peas growing on a vertical frame.

Todays subject: growing and harvesting sugar snap peas, and we have talked about growing peas, now lets dive into how to harvest them.

Harvesting Sugar Snap Peas

As I mentioned above, peas are quick growers and oftentimes can grow an entire foot in one week. Peas will flower and then the flowers turn into pods and the peas begin to grow.

There are several different times that you can harvest sugar snap peas. Here are a few things to consider when growing and harvesting sugar snap peas:

  • Do you like your pods more tender or firm?
  • Do you like your peas smaller or larger?
  • Or do you like them somewhere in between?

We grow so many that we harvest at all stages.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Peas Can Be Harvested At Different Stages of Growth

I encourage you to try harvesting peas at different times and as they grow. Peas taste different at certain phases of growth.

  • If you want your pods to be tender then harvest the pods shortly after they start growing. The peas will be very small inside and the pod will be somewhat flat. This is our favorite way to use them in a stir fry recipe.
  • If you like them somewhere in between then wait a week and pick the pods then. The peas will be slightly bigger in the pod and the pod will be a little less tender. This is our favorite way to eat them raw.
  • If you like your peas to be full size then wait a little bit longer. The peas will be super sweet and the pods become slightly less tender. This is our favorite way to steam them and they are amazing with a little lemon butter on them! (Check out our recipe for Lemon Butter Sugar Snap Peas)

Involving The Kids

Kids like to see progress and peas grow fast and keep kids very interested. When it is time for harvesting, my girls just love picking sugar snap peas!

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

For 3-4 weeks, our peas continue to produce and each day my girls run out and pick some more for me to cook.

Look at this amazing day where we had a very large BBQ and my girls picked some peas to grill. Oh yes you can grill sugar snap peas!! Recipe coming out next week for grilled sugar snap peas so be on the lookout for that great recipe!

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Removing Sugar Snap Peas From The Vine

To harvest the peas, simply snap the beans off of the vine. I usually have the girls hold the sugar snap peas at the top and then gently twist off the vine.

Then we throw them right into a strainer so that they can be cleaned and prepared for a snack or side dish.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

That’s it! How easy is it to grow, harvest and eat these delicious sugar snap peas. And don’t forget, you can grow peas twice in most growing seasons. We grow them in early spring and late fall.

Give them a whirl, you won’t be disappointed, I promise!

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Share Your Thoughts

What are some of your favorite things to grow in your garden? Do you enjoy sugar snap peas as much as we do?

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How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas


Maybe I should have planted my snap peas while I still had bare ground in my garden! Now we are expecting our third nor’easter in two weeks. Fortunately, snow is good for growing snap peas.

I had a neighbor years ago—an old farmer who always planted his peas as soon as the ground could be worked in the spring. Many years his newly planted pea rows were soon covered by a foot or more of wet spring snow. He would calmly remark that it wouldn’t bother the peas and in fact was helpful. “Poor man’s fertilizer” is what he called it and he always had the earliest and tastiest peas in town.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Poor Man’s Fertilizer

There actually is some truth to this bit of gardening lore. Falling snow absorbs ammonia from the air which breaks down when the sun melts the snow, releasing a small amount of nitric acid into the soil. Since in the spring most of the ground has thawed it is able to absorb the meltwater rather than having it run off. French peasants believed that a spring snow was as beneficial to the garden as a coating of manure and old-time farmers took it a step further, plowing a spring snowfall under to capture all its goodness.

Peas actually don’t need this extra nitrogen boost since as a legume they can take nitrogen directly from the air with the help of nitrogen-fixing bacteria on their roots. You can aid this process by inoculating the seeds with rhizobial bacteria before you plant them. Most garden centers and seed catalogs sell it; just be sure to get the one specifically meant for peas and beans. Don’t worry about sticking each little seed with a needle, you only need to moisten the seeds and roll them in it before planting. Easy-peasy.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

What are Snap Peas?

Sugar snap peas are a cross between garden peas and snow peas. (Snow peas are the flat ones.) With snap peas, the whole pod is eaten and has a crunchy texture and very sweet flavor. Remove the “strings” at the end; many snap peas varieties have the strings removed now.

If you are a fan of ‘Sugar Snap’ peas like me, you might have noticed that the seeds have not been growing true to type. The past few years, no matter where I source my seeds from, my plants yield as much as 30% snow peas mixed with the snap peas. Because of this lack of reliable seed stock, many companies have discontinued ‘Sugar Snap’ in favor of other “improved” varieties. Since I am always skeptical of anything claiming to be an improvement, last year I planted half the bed with regular ‘Sugar Snap’ and half with ‘Super Sugar Snap’.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas

Super Snap Pea Variety

The super variety really was better! The peas were ready to harvest much earlier and delivered a higher yield than the regular ‘Sugar Snap.’ Plus, all the pods were the fat crunchy ones we have come to love. This year it will be all ‘Super Sugar Snap’ for me and maybe I will try ‘Sugar Magnolia’ for a touch of color.

How to Eat Sugar Snap Peas
Photo: Sugar Magnolia Peas. Credit: Territorial Seed Company.

It bears a little later but has purple pods that will look great in a veggie platter or salad and it has lovely two-tone flowers as well.

Better get my shovel ready for the next load of poor man’s fertilizer that is headed my way. The garden should be amazing this year!

See the Almanac’s Pea Growing Guide for more information about sowing, growing, and harvesting.