Sugar snap peas become abundantly available at farmers markets and grocery stores between late spring and early in the summer.
The snap pea is a cross between the garden and snow pea. They have a sweeter taste than the garden pea, plump pods and a crisp texture. Their pods are edible.
Calories and Macro-nutrition
According to nutritiondata.com, one cup of snap peas has 41 calories. As part of those 41 calories, they supply seven grams of carbohydrate (three grams of which is fiber) and three grams of protein. These numbers make sugar snap peas a great addition to any type of diet, whether it be low carb, low fat or somewhere in between.
Vitamins and Minerals
Snap peas are stuffed full of valuable nutrients as well. One cup provides over half of the daily recommended value of vitamin K and almost half the daily values for manganese, vitamin C and fiber. They are also a good source of many B-vitamins such as folate, riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), thiamin (B1) and pyridoxine (B6).
Although snap peas are safe for most people to eat, those who need to avoid purines should avoid them. Purines are naturally occurring substances found in our bodies and almost all foods. Some foods, like peas, have a higher purine content then others. Purines are safe for most people to consume, however because they break down in the body into uric acid, those with kidney problems should avoid them.
Uric acid is a common and safe metabolic product that is normally filtered through the kidneys. In a person with kidney problems, uric acid levels can become too high, resulting in gout. If a person has any concern about kidney problems, uric acid or purines he should consult his doctor before consuming snap peas.
Preparation and Enjoyment
One of the best things about sugar snap peas is their versatility. They can be eaten raw or cooked, with or without shells, by themselves or in a dish.
The only important step for preparation involves "stringing" the peas. To string the pea, you remove the membranous string that runs from the base to the tip of the pod. This is most easily done by snapping off the top and bottom of the pod and then pulling off the strings.
Cooking the snap pea makes them sweeter and softer in texture. They can be easily over-cooked, however, which will cause them to fall apart. For this reason, most chefs prefer to lightly steam or stir-fry the pods. The peas may be frozen, in or out of the pod, but are too fragile to be canned.
Roasted Sugar Snap Peas (from www.whatscookingamerica.net)
1 pound sugar snap peas* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil Coarse salt or Fleur de sel salt 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Preheat broiler. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss peas with olive oil on prepared baking sheet. Spread peas in a single layer. Broil approximately two minutes or just until crisp-tender and they are beginning to brown in spots, stirring once. Remove from oven and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with coarse salt or fleur de sel salt, then chives, and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
Sugar Snap Peas with Pine Nuts (from www.recipezaar.com)
1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup sliced shallot 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 hungarian wax pepper, diced (yellow banana pepper) or 1 small jalapeno, diced 6 cups sugar snap peas, washed and rough chopped 1/2 cup pine nuts 1/4 cup fresh basil, rough chopped salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large pan. Add shallots and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add garlic and pepper toss then add sugar snap peas with the pine nuts. Stir fry for 3 minutes. Stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper.