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What’s coming up: English peas

The Free Lance-Star food section and the Front Burner blog are reviving a popular feature from years’ past. Each week we will feature a vegetable or fruit that is in season in our area and offer tips on selection and cooking. Here on the blog, please feel free to offer your own serving suggestions for these seasonal delights!

This week’s feature: English peas, also known as field peas or green peas

When it’s fresh here: A few weeks from late May to early June, before the weather gets too hot.

Fun fact: Peas are a powerful vegetable source of protein. A 3/4 cup serving of green peas contains about 100 calories and more protein than a tablespoon of peanut butter or a whole egg.

Pick and choose: This time of year, look for fresh peas still in the pod at farmers markets. Note that they are different from sugar snap peas and snow peas in that the pod is not eaten. Look for pods that are firm, smooth and bright green. Avoid pods that are puffy, do not feel full of peas or appear water-logged, or those that are yellow or pale green.

Quick serving ideas:

  • Fresh peas are a treat, and are sweet and tender enough to be eaten raw. Try them on a spring salad.
  • Blanch peas for just a minute to serve as a side dish, or process into a pesto-like spread. Try combining with cilantro, garlic and parmesan, or mint and pecorino cheese, to suggest a few variations.
  • Pea shoots, the leaves and tendrils of the pea plant, also make a sweet addition to salads, if you can find them or if you have them in your garden.
  • Try adding both peas and pea shoots to your next spring stir-fry. They pair well with ginger, soy and sesame flavors.

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