It’s time to freeze the garden peas.
This year’s crop of garden peas has come and gone. It’s always a tough crop to grow here in the Mid-Columbia. The peas actually grow quite well, but sometimes mature and get too old in a matter of days.
Garden, or English peas, like cool weather, but the month of May was unusually warm – hurrying the peas along. So I recently pulled the plants, shelled the peas, ate my share of raw ones (the best way to eat fresh peas!) and froze the rest.
How to Freeze Peas
Peas, like any fruit or vegetable, should be frozen as quickly after picking as possible. Unfortunately I seldom do so. I like to keep them around for noshing as long as I can. By the time I freeze the remaining peas they have usually gotten just a little old. Doesn’t matter – they still taste good and will be the perfect soup addition all winter long.
It’s easy to freeze peas; follow these steps:
- Pick and shell peas
What is Blanching?
Blanching is basically a quick dip in boiling water. Blanching arrests oxidation (or the aging process), basically keeping the peas in a state of suspended animation.
Raw vegetables that are not blanched before freezing will lose their taste in the freezer. There are a few exceptions (onions, peppers) but peas are not one of them!
How to Blanch Peas
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add peas.
- Drain after 2 minutes.
- Immediately rinse well with cold water. Be sure all of the peas are cool.
It’s Time to Freeze
- Spread drained, blanched peas on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Place in freezer for 12-24 hours.
- Move frozen peas to a zip-top freezer bag or other freezer container.
- Return to the freezer.
Spreading the peas on parchment lets them freeze individually, so you can pour out your desired amount when cooking. Otherwise the peas will all freeze in a big lump.
Now it’s on to the next garden harvest. Mine will be apricots. What are you harvesting?