Learn how to freeze fresh peas in the best way possible to maintain their color, taste, and nutritional value without wasting one tiny green sphere.
Freezing is one of the best methods to preserve fresh peas, especially if you have a bumper crop and cannot keep up with them.
When harvest time comes, you may end up with an overabundance of these nutritious vegetables, and you and your family may get tired of eating them at every meal. Whether your backyard garden produced well or you purchased pints at the local farmers market, freezing peas offers an easy way to enjoy them year-round.
The delicious taste of fresh garden peas adds a splash of fresh summertime flavor to a wide variety of favorite recipes when using your frozen peas months after they were harvested.
Fresh peas are some of the most easily frozen vegetables from your garden or the local farmer’s market. Although they may take a bit of time to shell, the freezing process itself is quite simple.
Also, the thawed peas do not lose much of their fresh flavor, texture, or nutrient content. The methods shared here are the best for learning how to freeze fresh garden peas and use them for all your favorite recipes weeks or months later.
Every garden pea in your plot will not reach maturity at the same time. However, you need to know the best stage for picking for maximum freshness and taste after freezing.
Three criteria matter most of all: size, color, and taste. To minimize the number of times you have to process them throughout the season, pick a range at the same time. If necessary, err on the side of smaller, newer pea pods rather than letting them overripen.
Size – Peas at the peak of freshness press against the pod walls but do not fill up the entire space within. You want to maximize vegetable volume without compromising flavor.
Color – The brighter the green, the sweeter the pea. Pale or dull pods usually signify that they are overripe. Eat those as soon as possible and save the ones with the vibrant colors for your freezer.
Taste – Smaller peas may have a more concentrated flavor, but you need to balance maximizing volume with deliciousness. Open up a few pods of different sizes and colors and taste to test. We do not recommend freezing the overripe ones as they will end up flavorless and excessively starchy.
Never freeze garden peas in their pods. The only varieties you would do this for are snow and sugar snap peas.
One of the steps in freezing fresh peas involves removing the individual orbs of the pods themselves. This is referred to as shelling and is quite a simple process.
So grab a bowl, a bag, and some friends. Sit down, relax, and pop them out of the pod with your fingers.
Here’s how. Hold a pod firmly in one hand and, with the other, pull down the tip of the stem. This removes a little bit of a string and makes opening the seam of the pod easier. Then slide your fingers down the inside of the pod and guide them into a large bowl.
This is best done as soon as possible after harvest to retain the best quality as their sugars quickly begin to convert to starch as soon as they are picked.
Follow these easy steps to prepare your bountiful harvest of fresh peas for freezing properly.
- Wash them in a big bowl of cold water.
- Prepare a large bowl of ice water with enough water to submerge them in.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Add just enough peas to the pot so they can still move around easily.
- Return the pot of water to a hard boil for 60 to 90 seconds.
- Drain in a colander and plunge immediately in the bowl of ice water
- Let them cool down completely before draining.
- Set the cooled peas on a clean tea towel to dry.
Once they are dry, transfer the blanched peas to resealable ziplock bags. Use a straw or a vacuum sealer to remove as much air as possible from the freezer bags. This will help reduce the formation of ice crystals and freezer burn. Properly label your bags by indicating the date and place them in the freezer.
Alternatively, you can spread them out evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet. Leave spaces between them as much as possible, so you do not end up with massive clumps. Once they freeze solid, pour them into a freezer-safe ziplock bag, a vacuum seal bag, or a storage container.
Choose the method that best suits how you plan on using your frozen peas.
How do you blanch peas?
The blanching process consists of briefly plunging shelled peas in rapidly boiling water for 60 to 90 seconds., followed by an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
Do you have to blanch peas before freezing?
As a general rule, yes. Blanching stops the enzymatic process of ripening and the rapid deterioration that can affect their color, flavor, texture and nutritional value. It truly is a quick and simple process -there is really no reason to skip it.
Do you need to thaw peas before cooking?
No, it really is not necessary. They are so small that they will easily defrost in a recipe or even after being added to a fresh salad. Grab the correct measurement for your meal and stir them in.
What types of recipes work well with frozen peas?
You can easily add them to any recipe, cooked or raw, with no problems. Combine this versatile vegetable with other vegetable ingredients found in stir-fries, casseroles, soups, stews, risottos, and salads. Or, saute them, in their frozen state, for an exceptional side dish for almost any meal. They even make an excellent addition to protein-rich smoothies.
How long will it last in the freezer?
For the best flavor, texture and nutrition, consume your frozen peas within six months. They are still safe to eat after this time, but the longer they stay in the freezer, the greater the chances of developing freezer burn and ice crystals.
Do frozen peas retain their nutrition?
Freezing is one of the best preservation methods when it comes to protecting the nutritional profile of vegetables. [source] Growing your own or buying farm-fresh peas is the best way to maximize their vitamins and minerals. Green peas have considerable fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, and protein, making them a highly valued part of any healthy meal. In fact, they offer more protein per measure than the vast majority of other vegetables or grains. [source]
Fresh sweet peas from your backyard garden or the local farmers’ market add a touch of fresh flavor and rich nutrition to a wide variety of recipes.
When your plants produce far too many to use all at once, or you can’t pass up a great deal in your community, learning how to freeze fresh peas is a great solution.
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How to Freeze Fresh Peas
- 1 pound garden peas or as much as you want
- Shell the garden peas.
- Wash peas in a bowl of water.
- Prepare a bowl of ice water large enough for the peas to submerge in.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Add the peas and blanch for 60-90 seconds.
- Drain and transfer the peas to the bowl of ice water. This immediately stops the cooking process.
- Drain the peas in a colander.
- Set cooled peas on a clean tea towel to dry.
- Place in resealable ziplock bags.
- Use a straw or a sealer to remove as much air as possible. This, in turn, will reduce the formation of ice crystals.
- Properly label your bags by indicating the date and place your bag in the freezer.