Historically peas were dried and used during the winter.
In the 1500s, new varieties with better flavour were developed and people started eating them fresh. Because they have a relatively short season most peas grown in New Zealand are eaten processed.
Snow peas are also known as mange tout, which translates into English as 'eat all'. Both the seed (pea) and the pod are eaten. They are almost completely flat with little bumps where the peas are inside the pod. Differing varieties exist, some of which may be referred to as sugar peas or sugar snap peas. With some of these varieties the peas are more developed before harvesting. Snow peas are used in Asian cooking and salads.
What to look for
Look for firm bright green pods that are not too full. Snow peas should have very small peas in the pod.
November - February, but even in season the supply may be limited. Snow peas are available October - April; supply limited May, June and September.
Refrigerate in plastic bags and use as soon as possible.
How to prepare
The fresher the peas, the better and sweeter they taste. Use as soon as possible after purchase and don't overcook. Remove peas from pods just before cooking. Snow peas can be topped and tailed but depending on the end use, this is not always necessary.
Ways to eat
Fresh peas are delicious steamed or boiled, with some fresh mint leaves. They can be used in soup, puréed, or served with meat. Lightly cook snow peas until tender but still crisp. Use snow peas in stir fries. Use peas and snow peas in salads, either raw or cooked.
Boil, microwave, steam, stew, stir fry.
|Serving size: ½ cup 82g|
|Fat, total (g)||0.33||0.50%||0.4|
|- saturated (g)||0.122||0.50%||0.149|
|- sugars (g)||1.39||1.50%||1.7|
|Dietary fibre (g)||6.07||20%||7.4||A good source of dietary fibre|
|Riboflavin (mg)||0.9||52.9% RDI*||0.11||A good source of riboflavin|
|Vitamin B6 (mg)||0.82||51% RDI*||0.1||A good source of vitamin B6|
|Vitamin C (mg)||12.3||30.8% RDI*||15||A good source of vitamin C|
|Folate (µg)||51.7||25.9% RDI*||63||A good source of folate|
|Niacin (mg)||1.9||19% RDI*||2.32||A source of niacin|
|Thiamin (mg)||0.21||19% RDI*||0.25||A source of thiamin|
|Zinc (mg)||1.1||9% RDI*||1.34|
|Iron (mg)||0.98||8% RDI*||1.2|
|Vitamin A Equiv. (µg)||39.16||5% RDI*||47.76|
|Vitamin E (mg)||0.11||1.1% RDI*||0.14|
|Calcium (mg)||10.66||1% RDI*||13|
|Selenium (µg)||0.15||0.2% RDI*||0.18|
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014
Peas are a particularly useful all-round food and are a good source of dietary fibre, folate, riboflavin plus vitamins B6 and C. They are also a source of niacin and thiamine. In addition they are one of the best vegetable sources of protein. The major phytonutrients in peas are the carotenoids, phenolic compounds, including some flavonoids as well as phenolic acids. Snow peas are a good source of vitamin C and a source of dietary fibre, folate, iron, vitamin A and thiamine.
Peas are highly perishable and delayed sales may mean negative flavour changes in the peas. Buy small quantities regularly and ensure the stock is turned over quickly. Display on refrigerated shelving. Pre-pack in plastic bags. Use the QR code on labels.
Store at 0ºC with a 90-100% relative humidity.
Purchase peas with the New Zealand GAP logo.
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