Frozen peas are great. Seriously! They're one of the few vegetables that will actually taste better frozen 95% of the year. That's because the moment you pluck pea pods from the vine, the sweet sugar inside the individual peas will start converting into starches. The difference between a fresh-picked pea and a day-old pea is easily noticeable (and we're talking both English peas, and their close cousin the sugar snap pea, though the former shows a more noticeable difference). So during the off-season, when fresh peas have to be shipped from faraway locations, by the time they reach your kitchen, they are bland, starchy, and not all that pleasant. Frozen peas, on the other hand, are flash frozen just after being picked, guaranteeing that they'll be sweet and tender when you cook them.
BUT now is you're chance to ignore all that sage advice and run straight for the farmer's market, where, for this fleeting season, you'll find them at their very best—just be sure to look for peas that were picked fresh that very same morning.
What to do with them once you've got them home? We've got 16 delicious ways to use them all up (and yes, they'll work on the sweet pea's frozen brethren, too). See the recipes in in the slideshow or go straight to one from the list below.
Get the Recipes!
- Spicy Orecchiette With Tuna, Peas, and Lemon
- Risotto with Spring Peas, Ham, and Fontina Cheese
- Spring Salad of Asparagus, Ramps, Snap Peas, and Peas, with Poached Egg and Lemon Zest Vinaigrette
- Carrot, Pea, and Mint Salad
- Pickled Spring Peas
- Basmati Rice and Pea Pilaf (Peas Pulao)
- Seared Cod with Peas, Pancetta, and Wilted Lettuce
- Chicken Risotto with Lemon, Asparagus and Peas
- Potato and Pea Curry with Yogurt, Cumin, and Ginger
- Cheesy Grits with Spring Vegetables
- Make-Ahead Pea Soup with Shallot, Lemon, and Parmesan
- Skillet Ground Lamb with Asparagus, Peas, and Tzatziki Sauce
- Potato and Pea Curry (Aloo Matar)
- Peas and Carrots Salad with Goat Cheese and Almonds
- Pasta Salad with Peas and Pesto
- Lamb Sausage with Pea Purée and Pea Sprouts