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What is the difference between garden peas, snow peas and sugar snap peas?

Garden Peas

Garden Peas need to be shelled before eating. Fresh garden peas have rounded pods that are usually slightly curved in shape with a smooth texture and vibrant green color. Inside garden peas are green rounded pea seeds that are sweet and starchy in taste and can be eaten raw or cooked. Garden peas have more nutrients and more calories than snow peas or sugar snap peas. However, they require more work to prepare because they must be shelled before eating. As most people do not want to spend the extra time to shell their peas, the demand for fresh garden peas is very low, and they can be more difficult to find than other varieties of peas. Garden peas are sweet and succulent for three to four days after they are picked but tend to become mealy and starchy very quickly if they are not cooked soon after harvesting.

Ninety-five percent of garden peas are sold either frozen or canned. Frozen garden peas are a good substitute for fresh Garden Peas. They are already shelled, and because they are blanched before freezing, they take no time to prepare - just heat and serve. They also retain their flavor and nutritional value because they are frozen soon after they are picked. Frozen peas are more flavorful, contain less sodium and have more nutritional value than canned peas.

Snow Peas or Chinese Pea Pods

Sometimes called Chinese pea pods, this variety is usually used in stir-fries. Snow peas are flat with edible pods through which you can usually see the shadows of the flat Pea seeds inside; they are never shelled. Fresh and frozen Snow Peas are available.

Sugar Snap Peas

A cross between the garden and snow pea, they have plump edible pods with a crisp, snappy texture; they are not shelled. Both snow peas and snap peas feature a slightly sweeter and cooler taste than the garden pea. Like snow peas, snap peas have fewer nutrients and calories than garden peas. Fresh and frozen sugar snap peas are available.

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