Preserving Summer’s Bounty {How to Freeze Sugar Snap Peas}

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Summer’s heatin’ up and the veggies in my garden are really starting to come on. We’ve been eating fresh greens for weeks, and I’ve been sending fresh kale over to my cancer-fightin’ friend Steffany since late May. One vegetable that’s really been doing well is my peas. I am growing sugar snap and Asian peas, different in shape, size, and form, but equally great for things like stirfry and my homemade orzo salad. And because I have lots of pea plants, I have…you guessed it…lots of peas! So much so that I decided to freeze some for winter’s use. I love being able to pull out sugar snap peas for a stirfry in the dead of winter and know that they came from my garden. So, I wanted to show you how to freeze peas in case you have a lot in your garden as well. Here we go!

Here’s what you will need:

  • Sugar snap peas in the pod
  • A large stock pot of boiling water
  • A large bow of ice water
  • Ziplock freezer bags

Step 1: Pick your peas.

Pick your peas when they are ripe and plump, but haven’t turned dry and woody. You might be tempted to wait until the peas inside the pod are super big, but it’s not necessary. Since you can eat it pod and all, it’s more about the total flavor, not the size of the pea inside. You can freeze any amount you want. Here’s a disclaimer: Whenever you can, eat them fresh. The texture is much better than thawed after being frozen. This is purely for a super abundance of peas that will end up going bad if not preserved.

Step 2: Wash your peas.

Wash them in cold water to make sure they are clean, even if you don’t use fertilizer or pesticides.

Step 3: Prep your peas.

Snap the ends of the pea pods, and in the process, pull the string. Some modern varieties of snap peas are stringless, so don’t worry if you don’t have any.

Step 4: Blanch your peas.

This involves boiling your snap peas for about 90 seconds. Boiling them kills the enzymes and bacteria that over time can break down the nutrients found in vegetables. Those enzymes and bacteria can also alter the taste and texture of a vegetable once frozen, so it’s important to make sure to kill off the bad guys ahead of time. Cover the pot with a lid and start the timer as soon as all of the peas are in the water.

Step 5: Cool your peas.

Not cool your jets, though you might have to do it if you have a 2 year old son pawing at your leg the entire time you are doing this. Not speaking from experience, or anything… I digress. Once the 90 seconds is up, quickly remove all the peas from the boiling water and place in an ice bath. This stops the cooking process and helps your peas maintain some shape during the freezing process. Cool for approximately 90 seconds, the same as what you blanched them for.

Step 6: Freeze your peas.

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Arrange your peas in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once completely frozen, place in Ziploc freezer bags (I actually used a plastic container). Label. Make sure to add the date so you know how long you have to use them. If stored in a chest freezer, they should last about 12 months…if in a conventional freeze, about 6 months.

Then this winter, when you want to make stirfry, pull on out your sugar snap peas from the garden and be proud. You grew that! And you froze that! And you were loving your family each step of the way. Happy harvesting ya’ll.

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