How do the various types of peas differ?
There are three main types of peas. The garden pea is grown for shelling. Snow and snap peas are edible podded peas.
The garden or English pea has been widely grown for years. Garden peas are harvested when the pods are well-filled and the seeds are sweet and tender. (The seeds in over-mature pods will be hard and starchy.) The pods of garden peas are not edible.
Snow peas (sugar peas) are harvested when the pods are long and thin, just as the seeds begin to develop. Young pods are tender, stringless, and may be stir-fried in Chinese dishes, steamed, or cooked like snap beans. If the seeds are allowed to develop fully, they may be shelled and used like garden peas.
Snap peas are best picked when the seeds are nearly full size. The pod walls are thick, fleshy, and crunchy. Snap peas may be eaten raw in salads, snapped and cooked like snap beans, or shelled for garden peas. They also freeze very well.