Grab Them Before They Go - Fresh Snow Peas

("Grab them before they go" - In this series we feature a seasonal produce or fruit our family is enjoying thoroughly these days. Infact it's so good that we think it deserves you opening another tab of your browser right now and finding out your nearest farmer's market to visit! 

We at G&G believe in simple & quick recipes with local and seasonal produce and fruits; not only you will be enjoying fresh bounties of the nature without the preservatives and 100s of food miles, you will also be helping the local farmer's ecosystem and sustainable growing)

Spring is in the air. And that means waking up to the hummingbirds dancing endlessly over early pomegranate bloom and the sweet smell of the backyard Jasmine flowers wafting through open windows and of-course new spring produce in the markets to devour!

Are you thinking of strawberries? Quite likely - as the Californian spring means a delight of rows and rows of large fat sweet juicy strawberries - but no, today we are not talking about strawberries but instead a lesser known spring produce which is available only for the few early spring weeks. It's called snow peas.

Snow pea is the young unripe version of more famous and commonly known green peas (or matar). What makes snow peas unique is that since they are picked when they are young and very tender so you can eat the peas and the pods all together.

The snow pea pods are tender and not fibry like the pods of the mature peas. They are sweet, lightly juicy and delicate making them perfect for so many quick dishes and of-course to munch raw..

Here is a good article on wikipedia about snow peas along-with a picture of the pods still on the plant.

Prepping snow peas is very easy. You wash them, pat dry and chop both the ends off. Then you can use them as whole or cut them in half lenghwise.

You can cook snow peas many ways. Some of my favorites are:

1) A quick spring pasta - saute minced garlic in olive oil along-with a pinch of crushed red peppers and handful of snow peas for a few minutes until the peas have a slightly charred color, add a couple of chopped early spring tomatoes and cook on medium heat until tomatoes break down. Add your favorite cooked pasta (I used Trader Joe's lemom pepper pepperdale pasta). Salt & pepper to taste; some chopped basil leaves on top and dinner served!

2) Snow peas are so yummy when browned in a little vegetable oil with salt, pepper and pinch of crushed chili flakes. Heat oil in a skillet on high. When hot, add snow peas and let roast until they start to char. Remove from heat. Add salt, pepper and crushed chili flakes - enjoy warm! Perfect snack or side to a dinner.

3) They are great in stir-frys.

4) Add to salad and stews. Snow peas are perfectly tasty eaten raw or blanched. Chop them and add to salads or to stews towards the end of the cooking. Perfect.

If you are new to snow peas, try them this season. There are so many ways to enjoy them! But be sure to grab them before they run out of season :)