Michigan fresh peas

Fresh peas are a tasty vegetable to add to your meals.

Michigan fresh peas will available soon, usually late May-June. When shopping for peas at your local farmers market or picking them out of your garden, choose fresh-looking peas that are not bruised or damaged. Food safety tips for handling any type of fresh fruit or vegetable to remember is to always wash hands before and after handling fresh produce and keep fresh produce away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.

If you grow peas in your garden or purchase a large amount at a farmers market to preserve for use during the winter, Michigan State University Extension recommends you follow the processes below to safely can or freeze your peas.

Freezing

Harvest when pods are filled with young, tender peas that have not become starchy. Wash and shell; water blanch 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 minutes, cool and drain. Package, leaving 1 1/2 inches headspace. Seal, label, date and freeze.

  • Water blanching: Use 1 gallon of water per pound of prepared peas. Put peas in blanching basket or strainer and lower into boiling water. Place lid on pan/blancher. Return water to boil and start counting blanching time as soon as water returns to a boil. It should take only a minute to come back to a boil. If it takes longer, too many peas have been put in the boiling water.

Canning

It is recommended that sugar snap and Chinese edible pods be frozen for best quality. Select well-filled pods containing young, tender, sweet seeds. Discard diseased pods. Shell and wash peas. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint or 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to each jar, if desired.

  • Hot pack – Cover peas with boiling water. Bring to a boil in a saucepan, and boil 2 minutes. Fill jars loosely with hot peas, and add cooking liquid, leaving 1 inch headspace.
  • Raw pack – Fill jars with raw peas and add boiling water, leaving 1 inch headspace. Do not shake the jar or press the peas down.

Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process:

  • In a dial gauge pressure canner it is recommended to raw or hot pack pints or jars for 40 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure.
  • In a weighted gauge pressure canner, process raw or hot packs for 40 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.

Let jars stand undisturbed for 24 hours, remove rings, wash jars, label, date and store. Food in jars that did not seal must be reprocessed in a clean jar with a new lid within 24 hours or refrigerated for consumption.

Be sure to check out the Michigan Fresh fact sheets with recipes, gardening tips and preservation techniques for over eighty Michigan grown foods available for free. The goal of Michigan Fresh is to help you and your family eat, preserve, grow and learn about all that’s Michigan fresh. It’s Michigan Fresh…for you!

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