easy peasy – freezing fresh peas

There is no rest for the wicked at our place. Our peas are ready in the garden, and there is a very narrow window of opportunity to get them picked and into the freezer before they get too old. So after returning home from the cottage yesterday, we took the kids along to the garden and picked through 6 rows of peas – it took 4 of us almost an hour, though I think the small squeaky kid slowed us down by eating more than she put in the bucket.

The husband told me later that since some things, like peas, are necessary to pick and process quickly, that is why tractors and farm equipment have right of way on the ferries in our area over normal vehicles. Huh. I’d never thought of that before, but it makes sense.

We managed to pick 2 big buckets of peas. In a few days I’ll return and pick over the remaining pods. We shelled peas (it took the tall kid, the dad and I the last 4 innings of the Blue Jays’ game to get them all done) and put them in cold water until after dinner when we could finish processing them. Getting them ready to freeze is easy, just a little labour intensive.

How to Freeze Peas

You’ll need:

  • fresh peas – any quantity (the rule of thumb is one handful per serving)
  • large pot of boiling water (I use a large pot with a pasta cooking insert, it makes removing the peas easy)
  • large bowl or sink full of cold water and ice
  • freezer bags

Instructions:

Pick your peas. You need peas that are fresh and crisp.  Select filled but tender, firm, crisp peas. Remove and discard any yellow, soft, spotted and rusty pods or pods that are leathery or wrinkled (too old). Peas are of the best quality when they are fully expanded but immature, before they become hard and starchy. They should be picked immediately before cooking because their quality (sweetness) deteriorates rapidly. If there is a delay between picking and freezing, put them in the refrigerator or (like we did) put them in a large bowl of cold water.

Shell the peas (obviously).

Boil your water and set up your ice water bath. Get the pot of boiling water ready (about 2/3 filled) and a large bowl with ice and cold water.

Blanch the peas. Vegetables contain enzymes that can break down the destroy nutrients and change the colour, flavour, and texture of food during frozen storage. Blanching time for peas is 90 seconds – the duration is just long enough to stop the action of the enzymes and kill bacteria. Begin counting the blanching time as soon as you place the peas in the boiling water. You can use the same blanching water each time – you may have to refill some water occasionally between batches to keep the water level the same.

Cool the peas. Pull peas (mine were in the pasta strainer) out of pot immediately after the 90 seconds is up and plunge (the strainer) into the ice water bath – this stops them from overcooking. Keep in the water bath until completely cooled. Drain the peas thoroughly (this shouldn’t take more than a minute).

Pop the peas into freezer bags in whatever quantity you want. I put 3 cups of peas in each medium freezer bag – the perfect amount for two adults and two kids. I also stack them flat on cookie sheets to freeze – things freeze easier and faster in a single flat layer than as one large mass and they are easier to stack in the freezer this way. That’s it. Now just freeze them until you want them. We ended up with 8 baggies of peas when we were done. Not a huge amount, but they will taste soo good. Plus, we’ve got another picking or maybe two before they are completely done and we planted another row a short time ago for a later harvest.

Linked to A Pinch of Joy, Like a Mustard Seed, Country Garden Showcase, Gastronomical Sovereignty, Frugally Sustainable, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, A Delightful Home

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31 thoughts on “easy peasy – freezing fresh peas

  1. This totally makes me want to grow peas – I love them!

  2. oceannah says:

    No rest indeed. I find the freezing part pretty simple, shelling peas not so much…
    *anna

    • No, the shelling part isn’t much fun.. but I had a G&T, the company of the family and a ball game to help pass the time. The small kid came in to see what was going on at one point and the tall kid yelled, “run! Save yourself!”.

  3. Janet S says:

    Ooh. Those look so good. I can’t wait until we can someday have a larger garden like yours!

  4. I am with sqweaky kid – I love raw just picked peas. This take me back to my childhook – I loved to shell peas – if I lived closer, I would help.

  5. where did that w come from I meant squeaky

  6. I’m jealous, ours are no where ready to pick through yet. I LOVE peas so can’t wait for fresh ones. I can’t stand baseball, it’s just too slow for me, but that’s one way to multi task!

    • Can’t say I’m a big baseball fan either, but my husband got to the remote first. It was nice to chat with the oldest kid while we shelled.

      • What is it about work that opens our kids up? My boys have always loved talking to me while helping with home remodeling, or even working on our car. When they were teens if I felt they had something on their minds I’d start a project and let them come help just to give them the chance to open up, as adults they still like to talk and work.

        • I think it’s easier to talk sometimes when everyone is focused on a task and not staring intently at the other person. I’ll have to remember that for when serious discussions are necessary with the kids.

  7. Kerry says:

    I’m crazy about peas. Could eat them any time. Weird, I know. Especially love raw, straight from the pod.

  8. The satisfaction of a job well done with people you love.

  9. This post was like a trip down memory lane for me, back to childhood and shelling peas with grandfather. They were so sweet and we didn’t have freezers in those days. So it didn’t matter if you popped some in your mouth, there was still enough left for dinner.

    • My husband was telling my about the field of peas his grandparents used to have. They’d spend days picking, shelling and freezing them – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and kids.. One huge production line, but it would feed the extended family throughout the winter.

  10. Roar Sweetly says:

    I am one of those slightly mad freeze-everything women. I even have a whole separate freezer which I bought when baby no.2 arrived. For a crazy freezer lady, nothing looks more satisfying than the image in this post.

    Oh & how green are those peas?! I can almost taste them.

    • We are more alike than you know.. I have two deep freezes to hold everything. One is currently empty, but I will fill it over he summer/fall garden season.

      And I think I ate almost as many peas as I froze.

  11. Pea’s look great, thanks for your Post.

  12. Sounds like you got a lot of peas!

  13. Sam says:

    Thanks for sharing this with the Fresh Foods Blog Hop! It makes me wish I had space to grow peas!

  14. This is a great how to guide when freezing peas! We’d love it if you’d share this at our Home is Where the Heart is! http://www.homesteadsimple.com/home-is-where-the-heart-is-link-it-up-wednesdays-1/
    and any other posts you’d like to share that have to do with homesteading and homemaking!

  15. we just got our first real bag of shelling peas in our CSA box today. so. very. excited. especially since i didn’t plant any this year. that being said, this little baby is getting filed away for the next time i do because fresh frozen peas are so much better than store bought 🙂

    thank you for sharing with us at the Fresh Foods Blog Hop – we hope to see you again this week!

  16. My peas are not doing very well this year. I have a small garden box so I didn’t plant as many as you, but the plants are wimpy and wilty. However, they are still producing peas. Not very many, but a few each – far more than I’d expect from such terribly small plants.
    Your post encourages me to keep believing in them, and maybe to plant a few more. Just in case.
    I’ve never heard of boiling them prior to freezing – do you do this with all vegetables?

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