sugar snap peas: spring’s candy

A few years ago, I started a batch of sugar snap peas on our deck and in front on the triangular trellis.  By late May, we had fat sugar snaps dangling from the vine.  I was so excited that I came running in and made my daughter come outside.  She humored me, but when she saw the green pods on the vine, she refused.  She reminded me that she didn’t like sugar snaps.  I encouraged her to try just one, and when she did,  her eyes lit up.  She looked at me and gushed, “These taste nothing like those things from the grocery store!”  She then proceeded to gobble up every pod that was ready for the picking.sugar snaps 2

Sugar snap peas are a good choice for beginner gardens.  They grow quickly so kids get quick results.  They prefer cooler weather so they give you something to look forward to as you wait for the tomatoes and squashes.  They’ll climb just about anything thin enough to wrap their tendrils around.  Most importantly, they are simply sweet and delicious!

So some tips for sugar snaps:

  • Plant in early-mid Spring–where I live, I can put them in the ground early-mid March.
  • They will need something to climb, but make sure it is thin, like wire, string, or twine.  On my deck, I zig-zagged wire in and out of the rungs.
  • They will be sweeter if you let them “puff up” rather than eat them when they are flatter.  Don’t let them go too long though, or they get a drier texture.
  • Since the seeds are hard, they will need water regularly at first or to be soaked to encourage sprouting.

How to eat sugar snap peas:

  • Straight off the vine
  • Sauteed in some sesame oil with garlic and a splash of tamari
  • With a summer dip–I like sour cream, dill, salt, pepper, minced onion and garlic
  • Chopped in half and tossed in a spring salad with a light vinaigrette
  • Marinated in a citrus vinaigrette

Sugar snaps are so flavorful and sweet, they are ideal for kids.  My two godsons came over to tromp around my farm last summer, and in spite of a fort, an art project, and a homemade creek, their fondest memory of that day was eating my sugar snaps then planting their own.  Needless to say, those were the first seeds I checked on my order form this year.

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