Snapshot: The Difference Between Garden, Snow, and Snap Peas

Peas aren’t just peas. Despite what some may think, they’re not a one-size fits all vegetable. Each of the three main categories (garden, snow, and snap) offer a different texture, flavor, and culinary speciality that makes them stand out amongst the crowd. With this guide, you’ll know peas better than even the drowsiest princess.

Garden Peas

This variety is often found bagged or frozen, but is available fresh from July to October. Also referred to as English peas, they’re eaten outside of their pod and are extremely versatile. Health conscious chefs should note that garden peas have the highest vitamin and mineral content of any variety.

  • Pro Tip: Garden peas make a fresh side dish, but are also a great addition to pasta! Try pan-frying peas alongside onion and garlic to add different textures to a classic Italian dish like pasta e piselli.

Snow Peas

The king of Asian cuisine, snow peas are found in everything from stir-fries to ramen. While they’re often used as an ingredient in a larger meal, snow peas can be sautéed and seasoned for a healthy side dish. Believe it or not, these peas are actually grown for the pod instead of the pea! This focus leads to a mild flavor and chewy texture.

  • Pro Tip: The easygoing snow pea can be served in most dishes. Look beyond Chinese food by adding it to soups or using it as the base of a salad.

Snap Peas

Though visually closer to snow peas, snap peas are actually a crossbreed between snow and garden peas. Otherwise known as sugar peas, this variety has the crunchiest texture and sweetest flavor of all three varietals, thoroughly earning both names. Like snow peas, you’ll want to serve these in the pod, but the cooking method is up to you. Serving raw or boiling are the most traditional, but they’ll also hold up well in the oven or a wok.

  • Pro Tip: Looking for a healthy snack that kids will love? Try seasoning your snap peas and then roasting! Salt and pepper are a simple starting point, but snap peas can be seasoned in a variety of ways based on your tastes.