The Cottage Smallholder

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Garden Peas: fresh and frozen


Photo: Sugar Snap Peas

Photo: Sugar Snap Peas

Three years ago we discovered that frozen “Garden Peas” are much tastier than frozen “Petit Pois”. They are cheaper too.

The shops are now full of fresh peas in the pods. They look so tempting but I’ve always found them tough and disappointing. I reckon that they need to be really fresh or frozen fresh to shine in the taste stakes.

This year I have grown two types of peas – both biodynamic from the Demeter range at Lunar Organics. A sugar snap pea (Sugar Dwarf Sweet Green) and a more traditional pea (Hurst Green Shaft). A week or so ago I picked a handful of the sugar snap peas and Danny bumped this up to two decent servings with frozen garden peas.
“This will be interesting as we can compare the flavour.” He declared.

Eaten raw (pod and all) the sugar snap peas are delicious. All that you could hope for from a baby podded pea. But I’m sorry to report that once cooked the frozen garden peas won hands down. Perhaps we overcooked the podded peas? They did need destringing so I reckon that we need to repeat the experiment with younger peas.

So from now on these podded peas will be eaten raw in salads, added to frittatas and used as a garnish. I’ve sown pea seeds every few weeks this year so we have more waiting in the wings.

Meanwhile we’ve started eating the traditional peas. Simmered gently for just three minutes they were very good indeed and Danny is eager to squeeze more plants into gaps in the kitchen garden.

As yet we haven’t compared the Hurst Green Shaft with the frozen peas. But I reckon that they are on a par with each other.

If you are a frozen petit pois aficionado why not go wild and try a decent brand of frozen garden peas – you’ll not be disappointed.

I would like to produce our own frozen and dried peas and this year I reckon that we have finally found the perfect pea. All we need now is a bit more space!

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  1. allotment blogger

    That’s very interesting as it confirms our own experiments. These days we only grow peas to pod and eat fresh or freeze, not as mange-tout or sugar snap. Our reasoning is thus: at the time that mange-tout are ready, so are a lot of other crops and they don’t freeze well. But frozen peas can be eaten through the year and taste wonderful in November, when they remind us of the joys of May and June, so we freeze about two-thirds of the peas we grow, and enjoy them in the chill of winter.

  2. Roger Sanderson

    When I was a student I worked for Birds-Eye on the pea harvest.They really do take the peas from the viners and freeze them within an hour.My main job was in R&D,and they test every load for tenderness and maturity,with purpose built equipment.They are then assigned one of four grades.The best go in there own brand and then other brands and the the poorest go for catering and prisons.

  3. Joanna

    I have grown peas for the freezer this year, just need the sugar snaps to get going and then I don’t have to eat the garden type peas :D.

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