Peas are an unsung superfood of fresh, seasonal produce. Often overlooked, these little greens are high in protein and full of vitamins and antioxidants. They are little bursts of goodness that can easily be added to a variety of light dishes, or can be made the main focus of your spring and summer table’s spread.
Frozen peas can still pack a punch, but fresh snow peas and sugar snap peas add crunch to summer salads. Shelled sugar snap peas are delicious in lighter pasta dishes, and can add variety to your usual fritter mix. Pulsed or mashed peas, with the addition of a few simple ingredients, make an awesome change to hummus and other dips. Their mild, sweet flavour makes them hugely versatile, so there’s little reason not to have a go at adding them into your kitchen.
HOW TO BUY
The fresher the better when it comes to peas. Smaller pods are younger and sweeter, where as larger, older ones can be a little on the stringy side. You should be able to eat them raw or cooked, so avoid tougher shells and any that are wilting or yellowing.
HOW TO STORE
The fresher the better rule sticks. If you’re not going to use them sooner rather than later, be sure to lightly blanch them and freeze them. They’ll keep this way for a few months. If you’re storing them in the fridge, shelled or unshelled, aim for the coolest parts to keep them crisp. Store them in a plastic bag and use within a few days.
HOW TO COOK
The best thing about fresh peas is that they can be eaten raw, or only take a few minutes to cook. You can cook them almost any way – steaming, stir-frying, boiling – for just long enough to make them tender. They can then be popped into pastas, risottos, salads, and stir-fries.
A good flavour combination is with a little Parmesan cheese, rocket, and some prosciutto. Try them with zucchini or halloumi in fritters and in light, seafood pastas. Alternatively pop them in a blender once cooked with mint and asparagus for a delicious dip. You can even use them unshelled as your dip-laden vessel of choice in place of carrots, or as a speedy snack.
It’s time to put your fresh pea know-how into practice. Here are our favourite pea recipes that are sure fire crowd-pea-sers: