Snow peas have pale green pods and contain petite, flattened peas. Pods are wide and flat, measuring approximately two to three inches in length. Both the peas and pod are edible and have a sweet pea flavor and tender yet crisp texture. The peas grow from flowers which can be white or purple, at this young stage both the leaves and flowers of the snow pea plant can be eaten as well.
Available year-round, the peak season for snow peas is spring through the early summer months.
The snow pea along with sugar and snap peas are part of a group of peas botanically known as Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon. Members of the Fabaceae family these peas are known for their tender edible seed pods. Botanically snow peas are a fruit but they are utilized today in the culinary world as a vegetable.
Snow peas offer protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamin C and K, potassium, magnesium and iron. Snow peas are also higher in vitamin C than other types of peas.
Snow peas are an integral vegetable in oriental cuisine and used commonly in stir-fries, fried rice and noodle dishes. Their crunchy texture and fresh flavor will complement soups, curries and meats prepared in a rich sauce. Snow peas can also be used raw in salads and spring rolls or served on a crudité tray. A versatile pea it's flavor and texture marries well with shrimp, scallops, cashews, citrus, soy sauce, sesame, butter, delicate noodles and tofu. Because of their high sugar content care should be taken when cooking snow peas as they will brown quicker than other varieties of peas.