Pea Varietals: Knowing which to Shuck and Which to Nosh | Wednesday’s In the Know
With spring in full bloom, peas are making a bountiful appearance at our local farmer’s markets. With all the varieties to choose from, and the question around which are best for shelling and which are best for noshing, I have turned to my trusted advisors at Sunset magazine for a thorough overview.
Peas prime for shelling (avoid the pods):
These peas are ready to pick when their pods fill with sweet, plump peas.
- 'Dual' is a new variety that produces 10 to 14 peas per pod, compared to 8 to 10 peas of most other varieties. A bush type, it bears many pods in pairs, instead of singly.
- 'Garden Sweet', another new variety, contains 25 percent more sugar than most peas and stays sweet longer after picking (up to 48 hours) than other peas. A vining type, it reaches 3 to 4 feet.
- 'Maestro' also produces many double pods on a bush-type plant over a relatively long season. Excellent disease resistance.
- 'Novella II' is a semi-leafless bush type. Excellent disease resistance.
Peas Perfect for Noshing, pods included!
- Snow peas. Bred to be harvested young, their flat pods are perfect for stir-fries. The two most widely sold varieties, 'Oregon Giant' and 'Oregon Sugar Pod II', are bush types. If you wait too long to harvest most snow peas, they develop a string that you have to remove before eating, but 'Oregon Sugar Pod II' is virtually stringless.
- Snap peas. These are ready to pick as soon as the peas swell the pods. If you leave them on the vine too long, most snaps develop a string. 'Sugar Snap' and 'Super Sugar Snap' are extra-sweet vining types (to 6 feet). 'Sugar Ann' and the stringless 'Sugar Sprint' are bush types. 'Mega', also a bush type, handles both colder and hotter weather better than many others.
For other terrific tips and hundreds of recipes, including several with peas like my spring pea risotto, pea soup with sour cream and mint, and spring peas with pancetta, visit my website (thetabletogether.com). While there, consider “subscribing” and I will send a new tip or blog post directly to your inbox every Tuesday and Wednesday morning!
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