Freezing is a much better way to preserve the sweet taste and tender texture of fresh peas than pressure canning is. It also preserves more of the nutrients in this healthy vegetable than canning does.
Giving the peas a quick blanching in boiling water before freezing them ensures that they will retain their bright green color and not turn into mush when you get around to cooking with them.
The single layer initial freeze prevents the peas from clumping together. The fact that they stay loose is a big advantage when, for example, you have a quart container of frozen peas but only need to take out a cup of them for a recipe.
Here are the easy steps for freezing fresh peas:
Snap off the stem end of the pea pod and pull it towards the tip. If the pods are stringy, this step will "unzip" the pods so that it is easy to get the peas out. Otherwise, simply open the pods and remove the peas.
While you are shelling the peas, have a pot of water coming to a boil on the stove.
Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
Once all of the peas are shelled, drop them into the pot of rapidly boiling water. Let them cook for just 1 1/2 minutes. Drain the peas quickly in a colander.
Immediately transfer the peas to the bowl of ice water. This stops the residual heat in the peas from continuing to cook them. Leave the peas in the ice water for 2 minutes. Drain them well in a colander.
Single Layer Freeze
Spread the blanched peas in a single layer on a baking sheet. Make sure that it is one with raised sides so that the peas don't roll off of the sheet. Freeze for 1 hour.
Transfer the frozen peas to freezer bags or containers and label with the date. Frozen peas will keep for 8 months. They are still safe to eat after that, but their quality will decline.
TipsThe quicker you can get this vegetable from harvest to freezer, the tastier the final product will be. Look for pods that are bright green and not yet starting to dry out at the stem end. The shape of the fully formed peas should be easy to feel through the pods. It is not necessary to thaw frozen peas before cooking them.