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Vegetable of the Month: Peas

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Preparing Peas to Eat

Rinse peas before shelling them. To shell peas, pinch the stem off with your fingernails and pull the string down the length of the pod. The pod will pop open and the peas can be pushed out of the pod with your thumb. When finished, wash all peas.

Rinse snow peas and sugar snap peas before use. To trim snow peas, cut the tips from both ends of the pod. This can be done with kitchen shears. Sugar snap peas need to have the strings removed before eaten cooked or raw. The string runs around both sides of the sugar snap pod. It is easiest to start from the bottom tip and pull the string up the front, and then snap the stem off and pull the string down the back of the pod.

Varieties of Peas

Green peas are nestled within large, bulging, grass green pods that are typically round and sweet. The green pea pods are tough, do not have good flavor, and therefore, are not eaten. Snow peas (Chinese pea pods) and sugar snap peas are more often found fresh, but many companies are now selling them frozen. These peas are eaten raw or cooked with the pod intact.

Snow peas supply less protein and are lower in B vitamins than green shelled peas because they are eaten when their seeds are still immature. However, snow peas provide almost twice the calcium, 100% of the RDA for vitamin C, and slightly more iron than green peas. Tips to Make Peas a Part of Your Day

  • Season cooked peas with fresh or dried mint, chopped fresh parsley, curry powder, or with lemon.
  • Add shelled green peas, snow peas, or sugar snap peas to tossed green or pasta salads or to stir-fried dishes.
  • Snow and sugar snap peas can be eaten raw as a snack or with your favorite low-fat dip.

Recipes

Oriental Snow Peas
Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 lb fresh snow pea pods, trimmed
1/2 cup diagonally sliced carrot
1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts
1/2 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch

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