Peas, like beans, are divided into two categories: those with edible pods or inedible pods. The pea we are familiar with, also known as the English pea, green pea or garden pea, has an inedible pod. Most commercial peas are called English peas or garden peas. Today, of all the green peas grown, only five per cent come to the market fresh, more than half is canned, and the remainder are frozen. Examples of edible pod peas are the snap pea and snow pea.
When selecting fresh green peas, check the pod carefully. Look for peas that are firm, crisp, with a bright green color and a fresh appearance. When you bring green peas home, remember they have a very short shelf life, so use them right away.
Rinse the pea pods just before you sit down to shell them. Steam your fresh peas in as little liquid as possible, because the less liquid you use, the higher the nutritional value will be. Fresh peas need very little cooking time, no more than 5 to 8 minutes.