How do the various types of peas differ?


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. 

Garden or English 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

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

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. 


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on . The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.