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Preserving Garden Peas
Fresh Garden Peas
We can’t wait for our first crop of peas to be done in late June. We love freshly picked peas. They taste so good and of course, they are the first harvest from our garden for the summer. We just can’t get enough of them. In fact, we have to keep our kids from eating all of them! There have to be enough peas left to preserve for the winter. Peas are easy to grow and can be grown in both the spring and fall.
We love fresh peas so much that of course, we want to preserve them for coming months. We have found that the best way to preserve peas is to freeze them. Freezing them preserves the sweet yummy taste. Frozen peas don’t taste exactly like freshly picked peas, but they still taste pretty close to fresh. It also is so satisfying to know when you grab a scoop of frozen peas that they came from your own backyard garden. That is as fresh and local as you can get, they didn’t have to travel very far to get to your table either. They also taste amazing when added to your meals or eaten plain. I have a delicious cream peas and potatoes recipe that we have every year in June with fresh peas. I also like to throw frozen peas in my salads for lunch or even in my kids’ lunches at school. They taste really good not even cooked.
Shelling Peas Tradition
Shelling peas in our family has become a fun tradition. We pick the peas from the garden and then all the kids come and we either sit on a blanket outside and shell them or we watch a movie inside as we shell them. We have done this together as a family for 20 years or more. It is good family time and also a good way to get your kids working and involved with the garden. We have fun talking with each other and seeing who can shell the most peas. We also probably eat too many peas in the process of shelling them too. Oops! They tend to just fall into our mouths by handfuls. Which is why we have to tell everyone to quit eating them or we won’t get any peas frozen. If you are not already than learn how to grow peas in your garden. They are simple to grow in your garden and they are an easy way to get your kids involved in the whole growing and harvesting process.
Steps for preserving peas
So I will start out with a warning; Our method for preserving peas is old fashion. Some food inspector at the USDA will have a conniption when he reads this. Here’s why, when it comes to peas we try to make preserving as simple as possible. We don’t really want to mess with “blanching” or anything like that. We simply wash them off and freeze them! With many vegetables, you just can’t get away with this but peas do just fine without blanching and it’s so much quicker!
So the first thing we do after shelling them is to give them a good wash. We put a little bit at a time in a strainer and wash them off. It doesn’t take much just a little rinsing to get the dirt off is all you need to do. We then put them on a towel to dry.
However here lately we have been super lazy and we have skipped this washing step altogether. I mean as long as all the kids’ hands are clean then the peas are clean right? The peas are in a pod so they really are not that dirty. This way I don’t have to let them dry on a towel I just pour them onto a baking sheet. However, you can choose what you want to do and clean them if you want it is just easier to do it this way.
Quick and Easy method for Freezing Peas
Freezing peas is so easy especially if you skip the washing step. The only thing that really takes time is the actual picking the peas and podding them. Once those things are done then we just spread them out on a cookie sheet so that they are just one layer thick. Then we stick the peas in the freezer for 24 hours. Take them out and scoop the peas into a labeled freezer gallon size bag. That is it! That is our simple method for preserving peas. It is so quick and easy to freeze peas! They last in the freezer for 6 to 12 months.
Tips for Freezing Peas
It is important to freeze the peas in a single layer on a cookie sheet for 24 hours because then they freeze separately. Freezing them flat like this prevents the peas from freezing all together in a big old clump! This makes it easy to get the peas out later. All you have to do is take a cup and scoop out however much you need for a meal. You can also use this method for preserving Snow or Snap peas, BUT you need to blanch snow or snap peas first for 3 minutes.
Be sure to try our Cream Peas and Potato recipe with some of your fresh peas!
Is it OK to freeze peas without blanching?
Experts will tell you that freezing peas without blanching means that they won’t last as long. But we have found that our frozen unblanched peas last 6 months or more in the freezer without any loss of quality.
How do you store peas for a long time?
If frozen flat first and then put into a good quality freezer bag your peas should last at least 6 months in a deep freeze. Try to remove as much air from the bag as possible and that will help. Peas will also last longer in a deep freezer than they will in the small freezer attached to your fridge.
Always remember when you are preserving foods to check the most recent preserving instructions. You can get them from the USDA, your local county extension agency or from a recently published book. We love the Ball Blue Book and use it all the time.