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Golden Sugar Snap Peas
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Golden Sugar Snap peas grow on green vines with thin coiled tendrils and soft green leaves. The plump pods are golden yellow with thick walls and a fibrous ‘string’ running down the front. They measure between 6 and 7 centimeters long. The pods are crisp and crunchy and have a rich water content. Each pod is tightly packed with up to 7 round, yellowish-green peas. They have a fresh, grassy aroma and sweet flavor with a hint of nuttiness.
Golden Sugar Snap peas are available on a limited basis in the spring and possibly fall months.
Golden Sugar Snap peas are a rare variety of Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon. The recently developed yellow snap peas were created by the same botanist who developed the modern sugar snap pea, also known as the honey pea. Golden Sugar Snap peas were originally released under the name Honey Snap peas. As of 2019, only a select few growers have contracted with the developer to grow the Golden Sugar Snap peas.
Golden Sugar Snap peas are high in vitamins C, fiber, and vitamin A. They are a good source of vitamin K, and contain moderate amounts of B-complex vitamins, iron and manganese.
Golden Sugar Snap peas are eaten raw on their own, on salads, or with dips or hummus. Chopped peas are used in spring salads, pair with mint, soft cheeses, chile peppers, arugula, or lemon. They can be pureed and used for soups, sauces or dips. When cooked, the golden pods will become translucent. Sautee them in oil with chopped garlic for an easy preparation. They can be steamed, roasted or grilled. Use Golden Sugar Snap peas in any application calling for the green variety. Add to stir-fries and pair with Asian flavors, chicken or pork, mushrooms, and soy. Store Golden Sugar Snap peas in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Golden Sugar Snap peas were developed by the late Dr. Calvin Lamborn, who is also considered the ‘Father of the Sugar Snap pea’. Lamborn developed Sugar Snap peas by crossing a snow pea with a mutant pea plant that had thicker pod walls. In 1969, he was working to produce a straighter snow pea with a smoother pod. The result was not a snow pea, but a snappy sweet pea with thick walls and plump pods. They first debuted in 1979 and were immediately popular. Lamborn retired to Idaho in 1997 and continued to cultivate new varieties until his death in 2017.
Golden Sugar Snap peas are an intentional cross developed by Dr. Calvin Lamborn, at his farm in Twin Falls, Idaho. It is believed they were developed sometime after 2000. They were first made available to select growers in 2014 and may not be cultivated on a regular basis. Two farms in Southern California, Windrose Farm and Coleman Family Farm, were under contract to grow the new snap pea variety in 2015. They are most likely spotted during the spring at farmer’s markets in Southern California.