Snap peas (also known as Sugarsnap peas, or Mange-touts in Britain) are a cultivar group of edible-podded peas that differ from snow peas in that their pods are round as opposed to flat. Snap peas like all other peas are pod fruits. An edible-podded pea is similar to a garden, or English, pea, but the pod is less fibrous, and edible when young. Pods of the edible-podded pea, including snap peas, do not have a membrane and do not open when ripe. At maturity, the pods grow to around 4-8 cm in length, Pods contain 3 to 5 peas per pod.
They get their name from the French 'mange tout' meaning to 'eat everything'; as unlike with many other varieties of pea, you can eat the peas and the pod.
There are several cultivars of snap peas, including 'Sugar Rae', 'Sugar Bon', 'Sugar Ann', and 'Sugar Snap'. The plants are climbing, and pea sticks or a trellis or other support system is required for optimal growth. Some cultivars are capable of climbing to 2 m high but are more commonly around 1-1.3 m for ease of harvest.
Snap peas are nutritious and filling, yet not as high in total carbohydrates and fats as normal peas. The pods themselves contain mostly water and vitamins.
How to cook mange tout
- Steam for 5 minutes
- Stir-fry until tender (3 or 4 minutes)
- Blanche in boiling water for 2 minutes.
They should still have a little crunch al-dente, and should not be cooked until soft.
Seasonal Information: Snap peas
This information is specifically for countries in the northern temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere; particularly the United Kingdom, however it should be applicable for northern USA, northern Europe, Canada, Russia, etc.
Snap peas are at their best and in season during the following months: June, July, August & September.
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