“I never realised the East Riding produces the largest quantity of peas in the whole of Europe.”
Most Reverend Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
What is the difference between snow peas, sugar snap peas, mangetout, and common-or-garden peas? They are all super-quick to cook and add crunch and a bright, fresh green to the look of a dish so it’s worth knowing which is which and what to do with them. Snow peas and sugar snap peas come into season in April and both can be referred to as mangetout (or mange tout), ordinary peas come into season a little later.
In the case of common-or-garden peas they’re quick because if you buy good quality frozen petit pois (not massive cannon balls) all you have to do is empty them, frozen, into a saucepan, and cook gently with a little butter, mint and maybe a little sugar until they are heated through – about five minutes usually.
Snow peas on the other hand are the pods of a type of pea which only develops very small peas so you can eat the entire pod whole.
You can eat them raw, throw them into stir fries, or fry quickly – no more than a couple of minutes – in sesame oil, throwing in some lemon juice and zest, some sesame seeds, and salt – sea salt flakes, or the sparkly, electric Oshima Island Ara Shio Dry salt you can get from The Salt House.
Sugar snap peas
Sugar snap peas (see the featured image at the top of this post) are a cross between ordinary peas and snow peas. They have slightly larger peas inside than snow peas, but you can still eat them whole and they are still crunchy and fresh… possibly a little sweeter.
You can fry them quickly in oil for three or four minutes and then add a little lemon and lemon zest and smoked salt crystals and serve them to pick at with drinks.
You can rinse, put back in the plastic dish you bought them in with a little water and microwave on high (or alternatively steam them) for a couple of minutes. Then refresh briefly in cold water to ensure they keep their bright green colour and add a little butter and mint.
Other recipes using sugar snaps are: