Freezing Sugar Snap Peas
Preserve that harvest of snap peas by freezing them! Peas freeze very well and will thaw with much of their texture and flavor intact. Blanching goes a long way toward protecting that fresh-from-the-garden feel and taste. It's a simple process that beats letting garden surplus go to waste any day.
How to Prep the Kitchen
Three simple steps to freezing sugar snap peas:
The first step upon bringing in the bounty is washing and processing your peas. Rinse them in cool water and remove any dirt. It is up to you how you’d like to freeze them: with stems and strings or without. Traditionally, the stems are taken off and the main string is removed.
To do this, snap off the stem toward the main seam of the pea pod and pull down along the main seam. A tough fibrous string that runs the length of the pod should come right off along with the stem. Not all types of pea will have a string to remove, check your seed packet for details on your variety.
How to Blanch
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil on the stovetop. On your counter have an equally large bowl of ice water ready. The bowls need to fit all your peas, so adjust size accordingly.
Drop the de-stringed peas into the boiling water. They don’t need long, 1 1/2 minutes will do it. Avoid ‘cooking’ them by leaving them in too long. You can simplify this process by leaving the peas in a strainer and dipping the strainer into the boiling water for 1 1/2 minutes.
Blanching doesn’t cook the peas. It stops natural enzymes that occur within the plant from breaking it down further. This means that when you thaw out your peas after freezing they aren’t a pile of mush.
Immediately after boiling, drain the peas and drop them into the ice water bath to stop any cooking. Leave them in the cold water for 2 minutes, then drain them.
How to Freeze
Spread the peas out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until all of the peas have frozen solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer bag. Allowing them to freeze on the pan makes sure they won’t stick together in the bag. If you were to place them in the bag before freezing on the pan, you may end up with one large pea-sickle.
Peas will last in the freezer for up to a year. They will lose some of their fresh texture and flavor, so some gardeners prefer them cooked after being frozen. Try out different recipes and come up with your own.