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Guide to Summer-Fresh Field Peas

Butter beans, crowders, and lady peas are some of the field peas you'll find at your local farmer's market. - Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas
Butter beans, crowders, and lady peas are some of the field peas you'll find at your local farmer's market. Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Take advantage of this summer's field peas. Use our tips on buying, cooking, and freezing field peas to help you make the freshest side dishes.

Southern peas and butter beans, popped fresh from the pod and simmered in pork-laced potlikker, signal the start of summer. And there are dozens of types—each with a subtle difference in taste and texture.

Types of Field Peas

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What to Look For

When shopping for unshelled peas or butterbeans, choose flexible, well-filled pods with tender seeds.

How to Freeze Field Peas

To freeze, wash shelled peas or butterbeans and blanch in boiling water to cover for 2 minutes; cool immediately in ice water, and drain well. Package in air-tight containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace, or in zip-top plastic freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. Seal, and freeze up to 6 months. Don't thaw frozen peas before cooking. Fresh or frozen field peas can easily be substituted in recipes calling for rinsed and drained canned peas. Simply use 2 cups cooked and drained peas for 1 (15-oz.) can.

How to Cook Field Peas

We like to combine different kinds of beans and peas and use a light hand with the seasoning) a whisper of garlic, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and bacon drippings) to bring out their delicate flavors. Field peas make for great succotash, salads, dips, and stews. Try some of our Summer-Fresh Field Peas Recipes.

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