Golden Snow Peas
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Golden Snow peas grow on long climbing vines and are preceded by bluish-mauve flowers. The flat pods range in size from 5 to 8 centimeters and are pale yellow, becoming more golden yellow as the pods mature. They have thin walls and contain anywhere from 5 to 8 very small peas, forming evenly spaced, visible bulges. Golden Snow peas are entirely edible and offer a tender and succulent yet crunchy texture and sweet pea flavor.
Golden Snow peas are available in the late spring and early summer months.
Golden Snow peas, also known as Golden Sweet Snow peas, are a rare heirloom variety. They easily recognized by their bright, lemon yellow color. The cultivar is botanically a member of Pisum sativum var. saccharatum and is not cultivated commercially and is often grown in home gardens or by smaller farms. They are sometimes referred to as Golden India Sweet Snow peas.
Golden Snow peas are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. They are a good source of folate, manganese and fiber and are a source of phosphorus, potassium and protein. The bright yellow pods are a source of beta-carotene and provide beneficial antioxidants.
Young Golden Snow peas are eaten both raw and cooked, while the older pods are primarily cooked in soups or stews. Add raw pods whole or chopped to green salads or cold grain or pasta salads. Sautee in oil with salt and pepper, or along with spices and chiles. They make a colorful contribution to stir fries and mixed vegetable dishes. Add them to curries or noodle dishes towards the end of the cooking process. Pair them with Asian flavors, pine nuts or almonds, ginger, fresh mint, sesame, butter, beef, and poultry. Golden Snow peas can be blanched or steamed and then frozen for future use. Keep unwashed pods in a bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The true origin of Golden Snow peas is unknown. Only one other named variety of yellow snow pea, named opal creek, is available through nurseries. It produces white flowers versus the two-toned maroon of the Golden Sweet, meaning they are different cultivars.
Golden Snow peas were discovered at a market in India and may have been the result of a spontaneous mutation of a green snow pea. Most growers, professional and novice, will save seeds from successful cultivars for the following seasons. The Golden Snow pea is open pollinated, meaning that it is pollinated through natural means, and is considered an heirloom, having been passed down through several generations. Seeds were brought to the United States from India and were originally available through Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds starting in 2010. Today, seeds are available through online nurseries in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Golden Snow peas may be spotted at farmer’s markets, in community supported agriculture shares and in specialty stores when in season.