Preserving Peas

With careful processing, peas can be preserved to be enjoyed throughout the year.
Preserving Peas - Articles

Updated: May 23, 2018

Preserving Peas

Peas - Davanath pixabay.com CCO

English or hull peas, snow peas, and sugar snap peas are the most readily available types in Pennsylvania. These varieties can all be frozen and hull peas may be successfully canned in a pressure canner. For best quality can or freeze peas the same day as harvested.

Snow peas should have a firm crisp pod that is flat with the seeds inside being small and immature. If the peas inside the pods are fat and visible, the pods will be tough and stringy. Remove the tips and the string on the side just before freezing.

Sugar snap peas differ from snow peas in that the pods look like the green hull peas and the peas inside are fully developed. Sugar snap peas have two strings that should be removed before cooking.

Freezing Peas

  • For snow or sugar snap peas, work quickly preparing small batches at a time.
  • Sort peas by size, blanching time is dependent upon the size of the pod. Blanching fixes color and preserves flavor and nutrients.
  • Blanch small-podded peas 1 to 1½ minutes, medium peas 2 minutes. Blanch one pound in one gallon of rapidly boiling water. If it takes more than one minute for the water to return to a boil after adding the peas, they will cook and be less crisp.
  • After blanching for recommended time, remove quickly and immerse in ice water just until chilled. Avoid soaking the peas.
  • Drain thoroughly on toweling.
  • Individually quick freezing on a tray works best to keep this type of pea crisp. Spread peas in a single layer on a tray and freeze until solid.
  • Snow or sugar snap peas frozen in mass will take longer to thaw and cook, and will lose the crispness usually desired with this vegetable.
  • Package in a moisture, vapor proof container.
  • Label and freeze up to one year at 0°F.

Green hull or English peas should be harvested when pods are filled with young, tender peas that have not become starchy. Wash and shell the peas; blanch for 1½ minutes in boiling water; drain and chill in ice water. Drain well. Package, leaving ½-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.

Canning Peas

Use a pressure canner when canning peas. Do not process peas in a boiling water bath canner. Under-processing will allow bacterial spores to survive that can cause the production of gasses that will release jar lids during storage as well as make you sick if you eat the food.

Because of their density be sure to pack peas loosely (whether raw or boiled) in jars. This allows space for water to circulate around each pea during processing. Follow processing guidelines based on type of pack, size of jar and altitude. Remove jars from the canner when the pressure returns to 0 psi. Never allow jars to sit in a canner overnight.