Today happened to be one of my favorite days of the summer: I picked our first vegetables from our garden! I have been keeping an eye on our sugar snap peas for a little while now. About a week ago I took notice to the blossoms on the peas. I knew it was only a matter of time!
Today, I went out to pull some weeds in our onions and I checked the peas. Wouldn’t you know, hanging right there in front of me were ready-to-pick snap peas! We seemed to have gotten our veggies planted later this year, since our spring was a little wetter and colder than last year. I remember picking sugar snap peas during the school year in previous years, but it doesn’t really matter.
I absolutely love when vegetables start ripening and are ready to be picked. My husband and I put in a fairly large garden each spring. The previous owners had a large garden, and we just kept the spot that they had plowed and prepared as our new garden. It is a lot of work, tilling, planting, putting down paper and topsoil, and weeding. But I think the harvest makes it all worth it.
One of my favorite things to do in my classroom is plant seeds with students. This year, I saved my used K-cups, cleaned them out, and used them as cups for my students to plant in. They each got to choose 6 different types of seeds, and then take them home after they sprouted. Almost every plant sprouted! I love to see the looks on their 7-year-old faces when this tiny little seed that they stuck in dirt and poured some water on has a tiny green stem and a couple leaves poking out of the ground! I get that same excitement when our rows of plants start sprouting. It is amazing to me how so much life and food can come from one little seed.
The first harvest of the season is always a little tricky for me. Seeing the peas through all the vines after spending an entire year away from it is sometimes tough. Especially this year, since we did not get the peas staked up in time and now they are just intertwined all over each other. So, I did the best I could with what I had. I used one hand to hold up each plant (or a group of plants that were all clinging to each other) and shook them a little bit. The peas would sway back and forth, making them easier to locate and pick from the stem.
I picked a decent amount of peas for it being the first harvest of the year.
After I picked them, I took them inside and cut the ends off and pulled off any strings. A knife is not required for this job, but I have always used one. I cut through almost the whole width of one end, and then pull up to get any strings off that may be there. The younger peas do not seem to have them. I do the same with the other end, cutting the opposite way and trying to pull any strings off of the other side of the pea.
Once the peas are trimmed, I rinse them off in a strainer with cold water.
There are many ways to cook sugar snap peas. One of my favorite ways is to sauté them in either butter or olive oil. Personally, the flavor of butter is better, but I was feeling a little more healthy tonight, so we went with olive oil.
I put the peas in a ceramic coated frying pan (any frying pan will work, I just prefer ceramic coated ones) and drizzled a little bit of olive oil over the top.
I added a little salt and pepper, and turned the burner on to medium heat. Every few minutes, I gave the peas a toss. I think only one or two flew out of the pan this time! (Usually, a few more than that escape!)
It took about ten minutes, and the peas were done. They were a vibrant green and softened, but not mushy. I put them on my plate beside some couscous and chicken, and dinner was served…delicious!
One way that I would love to figure out how to cook sugar snap peas is to roast them. Rather recently I began roasted almost all of my vegetables, and they are so tasty! I have tried several times to roast my snap peas. And every time was a tragic failure. I overcook them, and it ends in the burning of innocent peas. And I mean not just a little blackened. Like, my-husband-who-eats-anything-will-not-eat-these-because-they-are-equivalent-to-charcoal-briquettes burnt! But maybe one day I will figure it out and roast them correctly!
I would love to hear about any vegetable gardens you may have planted. Are you harvesting anything right now? Do you have a special way that you like to prepare sugar snap peas? Feel free to comment and give us some new ideas!