Snow pea

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Snow pea
Snow Pea on Plant.JPG
Snow pea on the plant
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Pisum
Species: Pisum sativum
Variety: P. sativum var. saccharatum
Trinomial name
Pisum sativum var. saccharatum

The snow pea (Pisum sativum var. saccharatum) is a vegetable, more specifically a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe. The name mangetout (French for "eat all") can apply both to snow peas and to snap peas.

In food[edit]

Snow peas, along with sugar snap peas and unlike field and garden peas, are notable for having edible pods that lack inedible fiber[1] (in the form of "parchment", a fibrous layer found in the inner pod rich in lignin[2]) in the pod walls. Snow peas have the thinner walls of the two edible pod variants. Two recessive genes known as p and v are responsible for this trait.[1] p is responsible for reducing the schlerenchymatous membrane on the inner pod wall, while v reduces pod wall thickness (n is a gene that thickens pod walls in snap peas).[3]

The stems and leaves of the immature plant are used as a vegetable in Chinese cooking, stir-fried with garlic and sometimes combined with crab or other shellfish.[4]

NCI snow peas.jpg
Snow peas (Pisum sativum)
Nutritional value per 100g
Energy 176 kJ (42 kcal)
Sugars 4.00
Dietary fiber 2.6
Vitamin A equiv.
630 μg
740 μg
Vitamin A 1087 IU
Thiamine (B1)
0.150 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.08 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.6 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.75 mg
Vitamin B6
0.16 mg
Folate (B9)
42 μg
Vitamin B12
0 μg
17.4 mg
Vitamin C
60 mg
Vitamin D
0 μg
Vitamin E
0.39 mg
Vitamin K
25 μg
43 mg
2.08 mg
24 mg
0.244 mg
53 mg
200 mg
4 mg
0.27 mg
Other constituents
Water 88.89
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

As nitrogen fixers[edit]

As with most legumes, snow peas host beneficial bacteria, rhizobia, in their root nodules, which fix nitrogen in the soil—this is called a mutualistic relationship—and are therefore a useful companion plant, especially useful to grow intercropped with green, leafy vegetables that benefit from high nitrogen content in their soil.

Cultivation and storage[edit]

Snow peas can be grown in open fields during cool seasons and can thus be cultivated during winter and spring seasons.[3]

Storage of the pea with films of polymethylpentene at a temperature of 5°C and a concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide of 5 kPa augments the shelf life, internal and external characteristics of the plant.[5]


Austrian scientist and monk Gregor Mendel used peas which he called "Pisum saccharatum" in his famous experiments demonstrating the heritable nature of specific traits, though this latin name might not refer to the same varieties identified with modern snow peas.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Singh RJ; Jauhar PP (2005). Genetic Resources, Chromosome Engineering, and Crop Improvement. CRC Press. pp. 74. ISBN 978-0-8493-1430-8. 
  2. ^ McGee, RJ; Baggett JR (1992). "Inheritance of Stringless Pod in Pisum sativum L" (PDF). J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 117 (4): 628–632. 
  3. ^ a b De Ron, AM; et al. (2005). "Identifying superior snow pea breeding lines" (pdf). HortScience. 40 (5): 1216–1220. 
  4. ^ "Snow Pea Shoots Photo - Chinese Vegetable Photos". 2011-10-17. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  5. ^ Pariasca, JAT; et al. (2001). "Effect of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and controlled atmosphere (CA) storage on the quality of snow pea pods (Pisum sativum L. var. saccharatum)". Postharvest Biology and Technology. 21 (2): 213–223. doi:10.1016/S0925-5214(00)00149-6. 
  6. ^ Ellis, T. H. N.; Hofer, J. M. I.; Timmerman-Vaughan, G. M.; Coyne, C. J.; Hellens, R. P. (2011). "Mendel, 150 years on". Trends in Plant Science. 16 (11): 590–596. doi:10.1016/j.tplants.2011.06.006. PMID 21775188.