Peas are a cool weather crop available in June and July. There are two common varieties: green garden peas that need shelling and edible-pod peas that are eaten whole (snow peas and sugar snap peas). Peas add color, texture, and variety to meals.
For information on pea varieties in Ohio, contact your county educator in agriculture and natural resources at Ohio State University Extension, or a master gardener volunteer.
Green garden peas (shelled)
- When you can see and feel the peas in the shell and the pods look full, but the shell is still green, this is the time to harvest. The sugar content drops as soon as they are picked, so harvest green garden peas just before eating them.
- Peas should be firm and bright green. Avoid peas that appear shriveled or dried.
- • Select pods that are bright green, flat, and tender.
- • Avoid pods with decay.
- • If the peas are developed, remove them from the shell and eat them like garden peas. The pods will be too tough to eat.
Due to many variables such as moisture content, size, and variety, it is difficult to give specific recommendations. The recommendations below are approximations.
- 1 pound of edible-pod peas = about 15 pods or 1 cup.
- 1 bushel green garden peas = about 30 pounds.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2½ cups of a variety of vegetables each day as part of a healthy diet. Peas are a great option for meeting this nutritional requirement:
- Peas contain vitamins A, C, and K, along with B vitamins and fiber.
- They have antioxidants that help prevent cancer and heart disease.
- One half-cup of edible-pod peas contains 13 calories.
- One half-cup of green garden peas contains 60 calories.
- Edible-pod peas (snow peas and sugar snap) can be stored in a vegetable crisper up to three days. Fresh-shelled green garden peas can be stored up to seven days in the refrigerator.
- To remove dirt, wash peas thoroughly in cold water before using. Do not use soap, detergent, or bleach because these liquids absorb into the vegetable.
- To shell garden peas, open the pod along the seam, remove peas, and rinse.
- Edible-pod peas (snow peas and sugar snap) have strings that must be removed before eating. To remove the strings, pinch the very tip of the pea to grab the string. Pull the string up the straightest side toward the stem end. Pinch off the stem end and repeat.
- Green garden peas may be canned or frozen for longer storage.
- Edible-pod peas are suitable for freezing, but not canning.
- Frozen peas keep well up to one year.
- Serve peas steamed as a side dish.
- Pea pods can be eaten raw or added to salads or stir-fry dishes.
- Add garden peas to soups, stews, pasta, rice, and potato dishes.
Sugar Snap Peas with Toasted Sesame Seeds
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 3 mushrooms sliced (1/2 cup)
- 2 cups sugar snap peas or snow peas (cut in half)
- 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1–2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- Wash the peas and remove the ends and strings.
- Slice the mushrooms.
- Measure out the soy sauce and sesame seeds. Set aside.
- Heat oil in wok or large skillet. Use medium-high heat.
- Add mushrooms and stir-fry them until they are light brown.
- Add peas and stir-fry them until they are crisp-tender for about 2 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce and stir.
- Cover and cook for one more minute. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Nutrition facts per serving: calories 90; fat 6g; cholesterol 0mg; sodium 115mg; carbohydrates 8g; fiber 2g; sugar 3g; and protein 3g.
For information on preserving peas, go to ohioline.osu.edu, or contact your local Ohio State University Extension office for the following fact sheets:
- Canning Basics, HYG-5338
- Basics for Canning Vegetables, HYG-5344
- Freezing Vegetables, HYG-5333
- Drying Fruits and Vegetables, HYG-5347
Cripps, Kimberly, Hope Kleine, and Megan Erickson. 2020. “Peas.” South Dakota State University Extension. extension.sdstate.edu/peas-pick-it-try-it-it-preserve-it.
FoodData Central. n.d. U.S. Department of Agriculture (website), accessed July 29, 2021. fdc.nal.usda.gov.
National Center for Home Food Preservation. n.d. University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences (website). Accessed July 29, 2021. nchfp.uga.edu.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Weights and Measures for Agricultural Commodities. Dover: Delaware Department of Agriculture, 2009–2010, 29. PDF. nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Delaware/Publications/Annual_Statistical_Bulletin/2009/Page29.pdf.