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Friday, March 23, 2018

Sugar Snaps Peas Producing Snow Peas


Q. Have had much success with sugar snap peas, but lately I’ve been planting sugar snap peas and getting snow peas instead.  Is it because the seed is old? 

Snow peas after harvest in Kenya.
A. I’m not sure the difference you are seeing between these snow peas and snap peas. Snow peas have flat pods when young and we see them frequently used in stirfry. Snap peas, or sugar snap peas as they are sometimes called, have round pods when they are young and not used conventionally in stirfry.


Kenya producer using sticks and string to trellis their snow peas.
High elevations in Kenya is a perfect cool year around climate for snow pea production.
            Snap peas, when they first emerge, are flat. As the seed inside the pod begins to enlarge the pod becomes round. If you pick snap peas too early they will look like snow peas. When harvesting snap peas, wait a little bit longer for the seed to enlarge and the pod to become round. But harvest the pods before the seed becomes mature. If you wait too long, the seed contains more starch rather than sugar and not as sweet.
Sugar snap pea seedlings in bloom and ready to climb the chicken wire.
Cold weather near Bloom time can cause problems and a lack of pea production inside the pod.


            The differences between the two are genetic so it should have nothing to do with the age of the seed. Snap peas were genetically bred from their ancestors, the English or garden pea and snow peas, to be less fibrous when they are young.


The perfect size for snow be export to Europe from Kenya.
            You also might be referring to the “strings” in the pod or how tough the pod is. If strings are a problem, harvest when very young or the pod may get tough when older. If you’re having problems with strings, remove the strings from the pods before using them and start harvesting earlier.

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