Crisp and refreshing, sweet and earthy; Sugar Snap Peas are a deliciously snappy addition to a meal or break.

snappeapodI love to have them handy for dipping or just enjoying a handful raw as a quick and refreshing snack.

It appears that Snap peas originated in Europe, different than their shelling pea counterpart, and has been cultivated and refined in cultures around the world. Also, unlike their counterpart, snap peas are meant to be eaten with their outer shell intact.  The peas inside remain relatively small and unobtrusive, which is what keeps them from splitting open when they are mature like regular garden peas do.

dippingpeasSugar snap peas are versatile and can be enjoyed raw or cooked in a variety of savory dishes. They make great crispy, crunchy, and refreshing additions to a salad or even as a side dish to a meal. They can be stir-fried, boiled, or baked, although truthfully, if they are cooked it should be only briefly as the whole point of them is their refreshing, crisp ‘snap’, which can be cooked away and you will end up with a lifeless, not so exciting, addition to your dining experience.

From a nutritional perspective, sugar snap peas are not quite as overall nutrient dense as garden peas but they’ve still got some good stuff going on.  They are higher in vitamin C, A, K and folic acid than garden peas. They are lower in calorie and have a different starch content making them a great source of fiber while still keeping them on the lower end of the glycemic index. They are a great source of B vitamins and supply a nice dose of minerals like zinc, copper, calcium and iron. Like the garden pea, sugar snap peas are a great source of antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthine, and carotenes. Recent research on the little snap pea demonstrates that it also contains antifungal properties, studies demonstrated that a particular protein found in the snap pea inhibited the translation and growth of a variety of toxic fungi. 

All of that being said, I think they are simple and delicious treats. They are not too sweet and provide a refreshing experience to the palate.