Valley Bounty: Snap Peas

Relative to much of the other produce we’re accustomed to seeing at the farmers’ market or in our farm share, sugar snap peas, or simply snap peas, have been around for a fairly short time. It was developed by researchers in 1952, who were cross-breeding snow peas with shelled peas. The resulting hybrid produces pea pods that, like snow peas, are tender and edible, while maintaining the thick, round shape of shell peas. Fresh snap peas are sweet and crunchy, making them a great snack for a hot summer day. Their French name, “mangetout”, translates to “eat all” in English, which describes both the fact that you eat the entire pea pod and what will quickly happen to a bag of them once they wind up in your kitchen.

Besides just digging in to raw snap peas by the handful, you can also cook snap peas for a quick and delicious side dish. Cooking will break down some of the starches in the peas and convert them to sugar, making them sweeter and more tender. Try simply sautéing them in olive oil with a little garlic, salt, and pepper for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the peas begin to lightly brown.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)