Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center

Sugar snap peas

Sugar Snap

There is no crunch quite like the sugar snap pea. And no better harbinger of summer. Sweet and crisp, they almost TASTE green. AND they can be eaten right off the plant.

Peas are in the legume family (like peanuts, beans, clover, alfalfa, and lentils). Like all legumes, they offer a special service to the soil that makes farmers happy: Legumes are unique among the veggies we eat in that they work with bacteria in the soil to take nitrogen from the air and convert it to soluble nitrogen underground. This is a biological source of fertility that is critically important for organic farmers. In fact, we grow field peas for this sole purpose. Peas and other legumes serve as one healthy, organic alternative to synthetic fertilizers.

That’s the science. The great thing about sugar snaps is that they are desirable on a much more basic level. They are DELICIOUS. Unlike their cousins, shelling peas, sugar snaps can be eaten whole, pod and all, which make them perfect for snacking. Plus, they’re sweet and satisfyingly crunchy. So start eating! The only part you need to compost is the stem, which snaps off easily. Your kids can do it while you’re preparing dinner.

Storage: Peas will start converting their sugars to starch as soon as they are harvested. So, eat them soon. The longer you wait, the more they lose their sweetness. If you don’t eat them right away, store them in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to two days. After that they will be noticeably less sweet.

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