Monday, July 11, 2011

Pickled Sugar Snap Peas

Until about a week ago, if you told me to do anything with a snap pea besides eat it raw, I would have scoffed. The whole reason I started vegetable gardening was because I wanted fresh snap peas (and tomatoes) and didn't want to pay the astronomical prices they were charging at the grocery store for the subpar selection. Snap peas are best enjoyed right off the vines. And I mean that literally. Our habit is to pick them, tear off the strings, and put them in our mouths. This makes snack time so easy.

This year I planted twice as many seeds as I normally do but it seems we ended up with more than a double harvest. Even after giving some away and blanching and freezing some, I still had quite a few left over.

Of all the ways to enjoy snap peas, pickling never came to mind. I really had to convince myself that pickling them would be a good idea. In the end,  I figured since we had so many and we'd already eaten enough to count for a year's worth of fiber, might as well try something new. I'm glad I did. These pickles were great.

When I need canning information, I always consult my trusted canning reference, the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I've canned many a chutney and jams, but pickles are relatively new ground for me. Who knew there were so many different types of pickles?  After some deliberation, I decided to go the way of brining then pickling. No rhyme or reason, just because it sounded good. If you're not feeling the brine, feel free to skip that step. Instead, add salt to the pickling liquid to taste. You'll save time and still have a tasty pickle on your hands.  By the way, this would work with string beans or just about any other vegetable.

Snap Pea Pickles
An adaptation of Mixed Vegetable Pickles from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Makes about eight  250ml jars (or  4 pint jars) 
  • 2.5 lbs sugar snap peas, tips and center string removed
  • 1 cup kosher salt (I use Diamond brand) dissolved in about 1 gallon water, cooled
  • 4.5 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs celery seeds
  • 2 tbs yellow mustard seeds
Put the snap peas in a large stainless steel or plastic container and pour the salt water over them. Let them brine for about 12 hours in the refrigerator.  After that time, drain and rinse the pods well with cold water.

In a stainless steel pot, bring the vinegar, sugar and spices to a boil. Allow to boil for a couple of minutes. Add the rinsed peas and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and boil gently for a couple of minutes, enough so the pods are heated through. Pack the pods into clean, hot jars. Add hot pickling liquid, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. (If you have leftover liquid, try making refrigerator pickled red onion. It's delicious on sandwiches.) Wipe rims, center lids on top, and screw on bands to fingertip tight. Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes then let the jars rest in the canner for about 5 minutes before setting them to cool.

I find that allowing canned foods to rest for at least 2 to 3 weeks allows the flavors to mellow. But I was too curious to wait that long. Although the vinegar still hadn't mellowed, they went great with salami, but I imagine they would compliment any type of charcuterie. Even Hubby, who originally turned up his nose when I told him I was pickling snap peas,  enjoyed them.  

I think I've picked up the pickling bug. So tell me, what should I pickle next?


Mary said...

This is a great idea. I've pickled green beans and asparagus but never snap peas. These look crisp and wonderful. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

dp said...

Hi Mary, Thank you. Pickled green beans and asparagus are good too!

Tove said...

Hi Darlene . Sidste år syltede jeg små grønne tomater, som ikke nåede at modne.
Jeg syltede dem med eddike, rørsukker, hel kanel og hel vanilje. De blev så gode.

dp said...

Tove, we had a lot of green tomatoes last year too. I used them to make relish, like the kind you put on hotdogs. So good! The idea of vanilla sounds in intriguing. I will have to try that.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Lucky you! I love eating sugar snap peas fresh too. I miss my old garden where I planted a bunch on a 3-inch strip of land along the fence.

Try pickling okra with some dried chili peppers for a kick. That's one of my favorites.

QGIRL said...

I second the okra idea. And what about Japanese eggplant? Or spicy Asian style cucumbers? My mouth is starting to water!

dp said...

WC, it seems there's lots of people doing okra, but I can't seem to find any :-( I'm taking a trip to Uwajimaya this weekend. Maybe they'll have it.

Qgirl, Yes, eggplant and cucumbers are going to happen this year. Just waiting for them to become available at farmer's market. I'm thinking an Indian eggplant pickle and some kind of Korean pickle for the cucumbers. So excited!

miri leigh said...

This looks great! I love pickled green tomatoes!

Robert Thorne said...

Well done on the plating and the combination of peas and salami slices. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were the very same caterer sydney who cooked up a storm during our company Christmas party.

Anonymous said...

How would you rate them on the crispiness scale? I expect them to be softer than raw, but were they unpleasantly so?

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This is the great idea. I have pickled natural pinto and black beans and also asparagus although never ever bite peas. These kind of appear clean and also fantastic. Employ a wonderful time. Blessings.

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How would you charge these people for the crispiness level? I anticipate the crooks to possibly be smoother compared to raw, nevertheless were many people unpleasantly consequently?

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