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Jan 25, 2009 12:14 PM

English Peas vs. Super Sugar Snap Peas, is there a difference?

I'm trying to figure this out, can't seem to find a clear answer. Any clues? Thanks!

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  1. English peas usually mean pod peas--that is, fresh peas that need to be removed from their rather tough green pods before cooking/eating. By contrast, sugar snap peas, like snow peas, have a tender, succulent pod and can be eaten whole, pods and all.

    6 Replies
    1. re: dixieday2

      I googled some images and saw that Super Sugar Snaps have the small peas inside just like English peas. The confusion came today at the Farmers Market here in Hollywood, I see some people selling very similar looking if not the same peas with some calling them English Peas and others just Sugar Snap Peas. Based on the Images it's hard to tell what's different, just the edible shells?

      1. re: rezpeni

        I assume that the OP is in America. I'm not sure what you might call "English peas". The peas we have in England (and the rest of Europe for that matter) need to be podded and the pod is generally not not eaten (although I understand it is in Scandanavian countries).

        Peas are one of those vegetables I find lose their sweet taste very quickly, so I won't buy from the supermarket or, often, even from the greengrocer. Frozen are generally much better. We have a "pick your own" farm a few minutes drive away and I will go and spend an hour picking. Any I don't need for that day will get fronzen.

        Sugar snaps are eaten for their pods, although they will have very small immature peas inside. We also have mangetout peas which are smaller (flatter) and generally don't really have peas inside. Are these what Americans call snow peas?

        1. re: Harters

          Yes, the flat, virtually no pea, pods are what we call snow peas.

          BTW, one year I got clever and planted a row of snow peas next to a row of "English" peas -- big mistake. The plant grew vigorously, and intertwined, and it was impossible to tell the difference between a mature snow pea and an immature "English" pea (that is, until you got the wrong one in the kitchen!). I always keep different pea types in different beds now.

          1. re: dkenworthy

            I find it interesting that Americans call peas "English peas" as, for the finest, we'd call them "petit pois" (not, say "French peas") and just "peas" for ordinary bigger ones.

            1. re: Harters

              Well, fresh, in-pod peas aren't *always* called English peas in the US; sometimes they're just peas. Frozen peas are just called peas in the US, though you'll also sea petite peas (i.e. petit pois).

        2. re: rezpeni

          I believe sugar snaps are a cross, maybe accidental, between peas and snow peas. To say the difference is "just the edible pods" don't do them justice. Not only do the pods taste good, it's less work and less waste.When I pick, the peas are big enough to give the pods an almost rounded shape, but not quite big enough to see each peas shape. Those that make it inside are "strung" (some varieties have stings like older stirring bean varieties), and cooked just a minute or two in boiling salted water, a little butter after draining. I SWEAR it's heard to get many as for as the table. My family are not big vegetable fans, but we argue over who ate more than their share of sugar snaps. Next time you see them, ask for a taste. token fresh and ready, 'they are great raw. I may be making too much of them but I L0VE sugar snaps.

      2. I like sugar snaps WAY better than snow peas, although I agree they are both "eat it all", but sugar snaps are fat and sweet, if eaten soon after picking.I grow my own just for that reason. Can't wait until pea season!

        1 Reply
        1. does anyone know where I can get Fresh green english peas?!?! I have been craving them for monthes and use to get them at vons. its still cold so the should be in season I can't find them any where!! can you order them online maybe?? i will buy like 5 pounds of them and go thro them in a day! someone please help me!! :)

          6 Replies
          1. re: lindsayautumn

            If you are in the US, I'd wait until March, April, May or so. Fresh picked is pretty important, so I'd go with a farmers market or CSA if you can't grow your own.

            1. re: lindsayautumn

              Wrong time of year for peas in the northern hemisphere. They're an early crop, but you'll have to wait a few months more.

              1. re: lindsayautumn

                Glad to see my old thread dug up :) Don't know where you are in the country but last week was the first week they started showing up at the Santa Monica Farmers Market here in cali, I made ravioli stuffed with them last night they are fantastic.

                1. re: lindsayautumn

                  I've bought them at Ralphs and Whole Foods in Marina Del Rey. They're so expensive ~$5/lb but worth every penny

                  1. re: ivy0821

                    I started picking mine about a week ago!

                2. As dixieday2 says, English peas refer to ones that need to be shelled before eating. Their shells are thin and tough. Super Sugar Snap Peas will also have well developed peas inside, but their shells are thick and juicy, without the tough, waxy cuticle that English peas have.

                  So yes, they look pretty similar from the outside. But when you break them open, you should be able to see a difference in the thickness of the shells.

                  In my garden, the English peas are a deeper green color than the Super Sugar Snaps, which have a yellowy-green cast. Don't know if that would be noticeable at the market. Next time I harvest some, I'll try to post a picture.