Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How To Blanch Sweet Peas

Sweet pea vines are laden with tasty, snappy pods right now in the Ozarks. As my sisters and I trooped out to the garden to gather the green jewels, I decided to document our blanching method for sweet peas and share it with you. Blanching is a very simple process for preparing vegetables for storage in the freezer. It kills any enzymes or bacteria that would cause spoilage while preserving freshness as much as possible. Below is the step by step method of how we blanch our own garden sweet peas.


What you will need:

Pot to boil water

Colander

Bowl for ice water (step 3)

Flat sheet with sides (cookie sheet, pizza pan, etc.)

Storage bags (see step 4 for suggestions)


1. Pick and Shell Peas

Look for pods that are full and firm, but still green. The pods may be slightly thicker or have a hollow sound when they are ready to be shelled. Pods that are yellow or feel dry are too tough, so feed these to your chickens or livestock. Proceed to rinse and shell the pods.

2. Blanch

Heat a pot of water to a rolling boil. As a rule of thumb figure 1 quart of water to 1 cup of peas. This is what kills the bacteria that would steal your harvest, so watch that the water stays on high once the peas are added. While you are waiting on your water, rinse the shelled peas one more time.

Once your water has reached boiling, add your peas and leave for a minute and half. Quickly prepare a bowl of ice water as your peas heat.

Strain the peas in a colander and then pour them into the ice water This will keep the peas from continuing to cook internally and cools them for handling in the next step. Leave the peas in the ice water for about 1-2 minutes.

3. Freeze Peas in a Single Layer

Take your flat sheet (with sides to keep the peas from rolling off) and gently place the peas in a single layer. Place on a level spot in the freezer until the peas are thoroughly frozen (approximately one hour). This will help the peas not clump together when you bag them.

4. Bag and Store

Bag the frozen peas into whatever quantity is most convenient. There are several suggested methods for storing frozen peas. One is the vacuum sealer method where all the air is removed with a vacuum sealer. However, not everyone (such as yours truly) has a vacuum sealer, in which case Ziploc freezer bags are your next best option. You may also use whatever plastic storage bags happen to be handy and double bag them, but be aware they may be more prone to freezer burn. There isn't a right or wrong way here, so feel free to choose what works best according to your resources and speed of usage. Press as much air as possible out of the bag before storing in the freezer.

Your sweet peas are now ready to be served in soups, casseroles and side dishes for the next several months (frozen peas should stay fresh for 6-8 months). Happy eating of your garden fresh sweet peas!

Photos courtesy of Phoebe Knapp


4 comments:

  1. Blanching is definitely easier than most people think it is. :) I like it better than canning because it doesn't cook the vegetables, just preserves them. So they still taste fresh.

    Great pictures, Phoebe! :)

    ~Amanda

    "She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard." Proverbs 31:16

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    1. Agree completely! Plus, you don't have to worry about breaking jars like you do with canning. :) Thanks, Amanda and I'll be sure to pass the compliments on to Phoebe! Think we may have another budding photographer. :)

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  2. Very interesting, Kenzi, and those peas look delicious! :) Thank you for another great post!! :)

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    1. They sure were! Thanks, Patience! :)

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