Purple Snow Peas
Inventory, 10 lbs : 0
Purple snow peas are small pods, averaging 5 to 8 centimeters in length, and have a flat, oblong, to slightly curved shape with angular and tapered, pointed ends. The pod’s surface is smooth, lightly textured, and pliable, being found in solid, mottled, or variegated hues of dark purple and green, depending on the variety. The pods are also tightly closed, revealing the shape of the developing peas through the skin. Underneath the surface, the small peas are green, succulent, and round to oblong, sometimes flattened. Purple snow peas have edible pods and peas, and there may also be a seam string that runs along that edge of the pod that can be removed before consumption. The variety has a crisp but tender consistency and contains a fresh, vegetal, and grassy flavor with sweety, mildly bitter nuances.
Purple snow peas are available in the fall through the winter.
Purple snow peas, botanically classified as Pisum sativum, are unique, bi-colored to solid purple pea cultivars belonging to the Fabaceae family. The pigmented, flat pods are specialty types of snow peas and were selected in the early 21st century for their purple hue. Purple snow peas are typically harvested when young, approximately 5 to 7 days after flowering, and are favored for their mild, subtly sweet flavor, tender texture, and visually attractive nature. There are several varieties of Purple snow peas often generally labeled in commercial markets, including Royal Snow, Shiraz, Beauregarde, Jupiter, and Midnight Snow. Purple snow peas share a similar flavor profile to green snow peas, but the purple pods are still considered rare and are not produced on a wide scale. Chefs and home cooks use Purple snow peas as an edible garnish in fresh preparations or as a lightly cooked vegetable.
Purple snow peas are an excellent source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, protect the cells against free radical damage, and reduce inflammation. The peas also provide some fiber to regulate the digestive tract and contain anthocyanins, compounds responsible for the pod’s vibrant coloring, which possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Purple snow peas share a similar flavor profile to green snow peas and can be used in any recipe calling for the traditional varieties. The snow pea’s crunchy texture and sweet flavor are well suited for fresh and lightly cooked preparations, and both the pigmented pods and peas are edible. Purple snow peas can be tossed into salads, roughly chopped into coleslaws, sliced lengthwise and stuffed with crab or soft cheeses, or displayed on appetizer platters as an accompaniment to creamy dips. The snow peas can also be utilized as an edible garnish for main dishes or served raw as a crunchy snack. In addition to fresh preparations, Purple snow peas can be lightly cooked and are popularly incorporated into stir-fries, steamed as a tender side dish, glazed to develop a sweet flavor, or sauteed and mixed into noodle and rice-based dishes. The snow peas can also be stirred into soups and curries. It is important to note that the purple coloring will dull or become muddy with prolonged cooking methods. Purple Snow peas pair well with carrots, bok choy, cucumber, bell pepper, ginger, mushrooms, meats such as poultry, beef, and pork, tofu, and fruits, including plums, pears, and oranges. Whole, unwashed Purple snow peas will keep 1 to 3 days when stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator. Purple snow peas can also be frozen for extended use.
Snow peas are known as “the peace crop” in Guatemala. The flat pods were introduced to the country as an additional source of income for farming families, and it is estimated that Guatemala produces approximately eighty percent of the snow peas eaten throughout the United States. Snow peas are generally a secondary crop, as corn and beans are the primary income source, but the edible pods are increasing in export, allowing families the opportunity to generate a higher income. Many of the farmers growing snow peas in Guatemala were historically affected by years of violent conflict, and cultivating snow peas has given communities within the departments of Chimaltenango, Sololá, and Sacatepéquez a stable, nontraditional crop with year-round cultivation capabilities. Fundarveja, or the National Pea Foundation, was also established in 2016 through agro exporters to assist with setting the Guatemalan farmers up for financial success. Fundarveja provides educational programs, farming job centers, and mentorship to encourage life-changing habits through nutrition, agriculture, and sanitation.
Purple snow peas are a relatively recent addition to commercial markets worldwide. Throughout history, purple peas have occasionally risen as spontaneous mutations in home gardens, but the bi-colored to solid purple pods were not commercially produced until the 21st century. The first cultivar developed for commercial sale was the shiraz snow pea, released in England in the early 2000s. Experts believe Purple snow pea variants were selected for their unusual, pigmented coloring and were selectively bred to become a new type of snow pea to catch consumer attention in the marketplace. Many different Purple snow pea varieties have been created over time to showcase unique purple pods with green peas. Purple snow peas thrive in cool climates and are primarily sown through select growers in South America, Central America, and Africa. The rare varieties are also grown through home gardeners as an exotic cultivar in the United States and Europe. When in season, Purple snow peas can be found through specialty distributors, farmer’s markets, and online retailers.
Recipes that include Purple Snow Peas. One is easiest, three is harder.