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Jul 7, 2006 05:46 AM

snow peas with no strings attached

OK, I just can't seem to get this one right. I consistently find myself unable to properly remove the "string" from fresh snow peas. I usually get a tiny bit pulled off before the string breaks off--and thenI can't get at the rest of it without mauling the pod beyond recogntion. I've tried bending the end of the pod back first--and I've tried not doing that. I've also tried going extra slow, or fast-like removing a band aid. Nothing seems to make much difference in the result. Is there an actual technique for getting the whole string off every time?

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  1. Where are you getting your snow peas from? You can ask your purvayor how fresh they are and what variety they are, as well as where they are grown. I can think of two reasons why you may not be able to get the strings off:

    1) The snow peas are not very fresh. Most fresh peas lose a significant portion of their starch content within 6 hours of being picked, and if they are kept in warmish conditions they degrade even faster. This breakdown of starch may cause the structure of the pea to be less crisp and may make the string come off less cleanly. You may need to use a small pairing knife to help you peel it from the pod.

    2) You have purchaced a "stringless" variety of snow pea. Several varieties exist, including the Nofilla and Norli snow peas, and Sugar Pop and Sugar Daddy sugar snaps. You can ask your purveyor what varieties they sell, or you can bite off half of a pod and see if you get string in your teeth to tell if it is a string nor stringless variety.

    As for technique, snap off the tip of one end of the pod with your fingernails, then pull down the pod to the end. Some string varieties have double strings, and you'll need to snap off the other end and pull the string off the other end.