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Dining In: You will be rewarded if you shell fresh peas

As the local spring harvest season marches toward summer’s arrival this week, a favorite vegetable of June is the humble pea.

Local farmers begin with English peas, which need to be shelled (the pods aren’t edible), followed by snap and snow peas, which are eaten whole. If you take the trouble to find shelling peas, you will be rewarded by greater nutritional value.

Fresh peas have vitamins A, K and C, niacin, fiber and antioxidants. They also are high in protein; a half-cup of peas has 4 grams of protein and only a trace of fat.

Trauger’s Farm in Kintnersville has been offering pick-your-own peas (call for availability) and the use of their shelling machine if you want to have them shelled before you head for home.

Freshly shelled or frozen peas are easy to cook. They can be zapped with a tablespoon of water in the microwave, boiled with a half-cup of water on top of the stove, steamed in a steamer, or sautéed with a tablespoon of butter or oil.

You can dress up their flavor with fresh herbs or use them in a salad.
Peas are a terrific side dish or can be part of an entrée such as this recipe from For local fresh peas, the time to enjoy them is now, so head for your favorite farmers market while they are available. They also freeze well for later use.

Creamy Skillet Noodles with Peas
¼ cup butter, cubed
2 tablespoons canola oil
5 cups uncooked
fine egg
2½ cups fresh or
frozen peas
(about 10 ounces)
2 ½ cups
chicken broth
1 cup half-and-
half cream
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add noodles; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in peas, broth, cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10-12 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.

This recipe for sautéing sugar snap peas is from’s Ina Garten.

Sautéed Sugar Snap Peas
1½ pounds fresh sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground
black pepper
Sea salt or fleur de sel, for serving

1. Remove and discard the stem end and string from each sugar snap pod.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sugar snap peas, salt and pepper and sauté, tossing occasionally for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sugar snap peas are crisp tender.
3. Place the sugar snap peas in a serving bowl, sprinkle with sea salt and serve.