Follow along with SNAP-Ed NY Nutritionist, Whitney, as she demonstrates how to save time, save money and eat healthy with these peas tips and tricks!
There are dozens of peas to choose from, and they come in many forms—fresh, frozen, canned, whole or even cut up. With all of this variety, it can be hard to keep track of how to store and use each one.
From the market or garden to your kitchen to your plate, you’ll learn how to get the most out of your peas and save some money. Peas help with healthy digestion and keep our heart healthy. By incorporating two to four cups of colorful vegetables throughout the day, you’re being a champion for your family’s health and providing them with the best nutrients possible.
Green peas are in season in the spring and also in the fall. There are three types of green peas, snow peas, and sugar snap peas. Green peas grow in a pod that are removed from the shell for cooking and eating. These should be plump, firm and shouldn’t rattle around in the pod. With snow peas and sugar snap peas, the pod and the peas can be eaten together.
The main difference is snow peas are flat and smaller peas, and sugar snap peas are plump crisp and snap like green beans when bent. Whichever peas your family likes, choose firm, bright green and medium-sized pods. Avoid ones that are discolored, broken, or wrinkled. At the farmers’ market, sugar snap and snow peas tend to be the least expensive, but overall all peas are cheaper when in season, around may to mid-July. To avoid waste, only buy what you need since fresh peas only lasts a few days. Frozen and canned peas can last longer in your pantry, plus they’re cost-effective, nutritious, and can be found all year round.
With canned, look for low sodium options by checking the nutrition facts label. Rinsing canned goods can always help remove excess sodium too. At home, it’s important to store your peas properly. They are more flavorful the day they are purchased, so use as soon as possible. Peas can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. To fully enjoy them, use a perforated bag with holes. Otherwise, the peas may sweat and spoil quicker. Keep the shell on your green peas, and not washing them until use will also help them last longer. Since peas do not need to be cut, this is an easy vegetable the kids can help prepare. Before using, wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, and rinse the peas under cold running water and pat dry with a paper towel.
For sugar snap and snow peas, trimming off the end and removing the string that runs down the middle is an optional step. For green peas, you do need to do this to pop the peas out of the shell. Once cleaned and ready, peas can be cooked in several ways. They can be boiled, steamed, stir-fried, or added to any dish of your choosing. Garden peas are typically boiled. Fresh from the pod, they may take two to three minutes to become tender. Steaming is typically used for peas in the pod, snow peas or sugar snap, and it only takes one to two minutes to cook. Both boiled and steamed peas pair really nicely with pasta dishes like our one pot chicken Alfredo recipe.
Stir-frying goes nicely with snow peas. To cook, add snow peas to the heated saucepan, and stir for five to seven minutes. They
are delicious when served with other vegetables, whole grain brown rice, and a little soy sauce or your favorite low-sodium seasonings. Always keep a close eye when cooking peas so they don’t overcook and become mushy. If you’re using frozen or canned peas, check the package for cooking directions. However you decide to prepare your peas, remember they are a quick fix vegetable because they can be eaten raw too. Try them with a low-fat dip, or add them to salads. You can make half of your plate fruits and vegetables with peas by using recipes from our SNAP-Ed NY recipe bank.
Making every bite count starts with one or two options that are rich in nutrition. Varying your veggies becomes easier when you know how to buy, store, and prepare them in affordable and tasty ways.