For my family, our first crop of the year, sugar snap peas, go in the ground on or around St. Patrick’s Day. We’ve been doing this almost since the beginning of our marriage. Turn the first bed with compost and plant the solid green orbs. Now our children eagerly help us plant the green orbs and wait for the first snap peas to appear.
Usually, we stake the snap peas with the same supports we use later in the season for our pole beans. Sometimes I use 18 inch metal fencing though the pea vines often need extra support. One year, I used the branches pruned from our apple trees, and love the natural sculptures in our gardening beds. If you want to do minimal supports, stick to the dwarf varieties which will still produce enough snap peas to satisfy your family.
Sugar Snap peas can tolerate a light frost. They’ll need protection from a heavier frost. While they tolerate a higher range of temperatures than regular peas, they still need 4 to 6 hours of light daily. Since their only pest is rabbits or the occasional deer, snap peas are easy to care for.
Always grasp the plant where the snap pea is attached before gently removing the snap pea. This prevents the stems from being damaged. You can also harvest the flowers and leafy tips of the plants and enjoy them raw or sauteed.
How to Prepare Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar Snap Peas being edible-podded are easy to prepare. The string running along the top of the pod from base to tip is removed needs to be removed on mature pea pods. Just a quick rinse, and a quick destring, and the peas are ready to go. We won’t tell anyone if they end up in your mouth right away.
Ways to Serve Them
Serve them raw in a salad or drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Roast them in the oven as in this sugar snap recipe from AllRecipes.com.
Saute them on the stove in bacon fat and serve the sugar snap peas with bacon and balsamic vinegar.
Or try a Chinese recipe like Pork Lo Mein.
Snap peas can be steamed and frozen. I’ve done this when we’ve had an overabundance of them. Blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes or steam for 3 minutes. As long as the snap peas aren’t very mature with a filled-out pod, they’ll survive the process and cook up quickly in a saute or stir fry. Just don’t defrost before cooking.