Purple Snow Peas
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Measuring two to three inches in length, the purple snow pea has a deep purple outer skin that encases petite, flat, green peas. The purple snow pea pod has an overall flattened shape and smooth skin. Once the inner peas become visible, this is when the purple snow pea is at its best eating quality. Purple snow peas offer a slightly sweet flavor and meaty texture.
The purple snow pea has a peak season in the mid-fall and throughout the winter months.
The purple snow pea is a member of the Fabaceae family and botanically known as Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon. The purple snow pea is utilized as a vegetable in the culinary world though botanically speaking it is technically a fruit due to the fact that snow pea plants blossom prior to producing a pea pod.
Purple snow peas contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins which are not only responsible for the vibrant coloring of purple snow peas but have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties which boost the immune system and can help aid in the prevention of certain cancers.
Purple snow peas can be used in any recipe where traditional snow peas are called for. Their crunchy texture and sweet flavor will complement stir-fries, curries and fried rice. Showcase their vibrant color and utilize raw in salads, on crudité trays or serve as a starter sliced lengthwise and stuffed with crab, soft chesses or cream based fillings. Their color will dull and turn dark green if steamed or boiled for too long. To best preserve their bright purple hue and crunchy texture stick to quick cooking methods such as blanching and sautéing.
There are a few different varieties of purple snow peas on the market today, all of which are relatively new. The Shiraz pea was first developed in the United Kingdom in the early 2000’s. Midnight Snow and Sugar Magnolia peas originated in the United States around the same time. Similar to traditional snow peas, purple snow peas thrive in cool climates and should be picked as soon as the petite peas within the pod are visible, typically five to seven days after flowering.
People have spotted Purple Snow Peas using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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