Shelling Peas

Shelling peas are often called English peas, because many fine varieties were developed in Great Britain in the 18th century. Fresh peas at our market herald spring’s arrival. Raw or cooked, peas add flavor, texture, and color.

Look for peas that are bright green and crisp. Time is of the essence when it comes to fresh peas, which are best right after they’ve been picked. As time passes, the sugar converts to starch and can result in hard, mealy peas. If you don’t have plans to eat the peas right away, store the unshelled peas in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to three days.

We love peas simmered until just tender and served with butter and good salt as a side dish. Try them in anything “primavera,” or in a spring risotto. You can cook up a fresh pea soup by simmering peas in chicken broth, puréeing, and topping with a little cream or crème fraîche. Or let cooked peas cool slightly, and toss them with a diced avocado and roughly chopped cilantro.

In recipes, allow one pound of peas for one cup shelled.




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