Tutorial and tips for how to quickly and easily freeze snap peas without blanching - or snow peas - to be able to enjoy them longer than their short season.
A few years ago I shared a harvest photo of our three types of peas, and I realized I needed to find a way to preserve them. The window for fresh peas is typically short - hopefully three weeks to a month before the hot weather does them in. But freezing is a way to be able to have garden peas a little longer.
When I experimented with freezing green beans without blanching first (with great success!), I didn't have enough peas to try the method (or anti-method, ha!) right then - we just ate the few that we harvested. As soon as we had a decent harvest, though, I experimented with freezing peas without blanching, too.
But because of the success of the green beans - and all the emails and comments on the green bean post from people who:
- Tried it and liked the results, OR
- They, their parents, or grandparents always did it that way.
And because of the popularity of that article, I went ahead and froze the snap and snow peas without blanching.
How did freezing snap peas without blanching turn out?
We tried them after a week of being in the freezer and liked the results better than the wimpy, over-cooked, squeaky blanched snap peas of my past (similar to the beans...).
We then also tried them at 1 month, 2 months, and 3 months before we ran out of frozen peas and they were still better in my opinion, though they were a bit more soft.
Since snap peas do seem to have more water content than beans, the pods do not come out crisp like fresh, but the inside peas do, and the flavor is still sweet and pleasant with the bit of crisp. Snow peas fair a better, probably because there's not as much air in the pod as snap peas.
I do want to say that this is one of those try-it-and-see-if-you-like-it type of methods. Do a bag like this and see if you like it before preserving your whole harvest this way.
As for me, this is much better than the alternative than blanching, just like with green beans!
How to Freeze Snap Peans Without Blanching
Part of the reason this method appeals to me, besides how they come out of the freezer, is because it's so quick. That's the thing I love most about eliminating the whole blanching process - well, that and not having to deal with boiling water when it's hot outside.
Quick & Easy Steps to Freeze Snap or Snow Peas Without Blanching
- Strip pods of the tops and strings, as usual. Clean if needed, and dry well. You do not need to clean them unless you don't know where they came from or who handled them. Mine grow organically and never touch the ground, so I don't bother. IF you do wash, plan to air dry or hand dry well (TIP: spinning in a salad spinner will help dry faster), as water will cause the dreaded ice crystals to form faster in the freezer.
- Slice pods into 1 to 2-inch pieces. You could leave them whole, but I find cutting into smaller pieces helps detract from the inevitable changes that occur in the freezer to the texture - when they're smaller, it's less noticeable.
- Add to a freezer baggie, remove air, label, and freeze.
I know - awesome in it's simpleness, right?
Tip for Removing Air From Freezer Baggies
I don't want to leave you without a reminder about my cheap trick for removing air instead of using a seal-a-meal (or whatever they're called - which if you have, great! I just don't want the added expense):
The straw vacuum sealer method.
How to remove air from a baggie using a straw:
- Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible.
- Open a small section of the seal, and insert a straw.
- Suck out as much air as you can, until the bag is collapsing around the contents.
- Remove straw and quickly seal as fast as possible.
Does it remove all the air? No. Does it work as well as those seal-a-meals? Probably not.
But does it work better than simply using your hands to remove the air?
Yes! Plus it's quick and easy, and I don't have to buy a gadget or special baggies. Also, I reuse these strong baggies over and over for regular storage when they're done in the freezer, which you can't do with the sealed bags.
How To Cook With Frozen Peas?
While they aren't as crisp as fresh, I've found the frozen peas still work well in these dishes:
- Stir fries - add them at the last minute (still frozen) and toss a few more minutes in the hot stir fry until they are warmed.
- Soups - add them frozen when there is just 10 minutes or so left to cook.
- Roasted on their own or in sheet pan meals - add frozen to a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, season, and roast at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until browning and cooked through.
How to Freeze Snap Peas & Snow Peas Without Blanching
- Cutting Board
- Sharp Knife
- large baking tray/cookie sheet
- freezer baggies/containers
- straw, if using
- 1 pound snap peas or snow peas
- Strip pods of the tops and strings, as usual.
- Clean if needed, and dry well. You do not need to clean them unless you don't know where they came from or who handled them. IF you do wash, plan to air dry or hand dry well (TIP: spinning in a salad spinner will help dry faster), as water will cause the dreaded ice crystals to form faster in the freezer.
- Slice pods into 1 to 2-inch pieces. You could leave them whole, but cutting into smaller pieces seems to help detract from the inevitable changes that occur in the freezer to the texture - when they're smaller, it's less noticeable.
- Add to a freezer baggie, remove air, label, and freeze. Alternately, you can lay out on a cookie sheet, freeze for 30 minutes and then add to freezer container (this allows you to more easily pull a few out at a time if you need).
Soups - add them frozen when there is just 10 minutes or so left to cook.
Roasted on their own or in sheet pan meals - add frozen to a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, season, and roast at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until browning and cooked through.
What about you - have you ever frozen peas? What's your favorite way to 'put up' peas?
This article has been updated - it was originally published in July of 2013.