Mangetout (Snow Pea)
The UK Mangetout season starts in June and runs throughout the summer until August, that is if you grow your own plants. Most of the Mangetout pods available in the supermarkets are imported from countries as far as Kenya, Egypt or China and they are available all year. According to The Guardian, the only shop that can offer British grown Mangetout is Marks & Spencer. Apparently, until 2010 British mangetout growers were unable to provide large amounts to satisfy the supermarket needs.
Mangetout, also called Snow pea is a member of the legume family. It’s believed to have originated in Asia where it’s widely used in stir-fries. Mangetout (from French ‘mange tout’ = ‘eat all’) is harvested while still very young. The pods are flat with undeveloped pea seeds inside. Another type of pea that is harvested early while the pots are undeveloped is Sugar snap pea. Both types of peas have similar taste and are generally used the same way in cooking.
Mangetout pods are beautifully green, snappy and crisp. They can be eaten raw or the pods can be blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes and quickly cooled down in a bath with cold water to retain their crispiness, taste and colour. Another favourite way to prepare them is to quickly fry them. They taste great in Asian recipes and are often added to stir-fries and soups.
Mangetout is best eaten quickly while it’s fresh. It can last in the airtight container in the fridge for around 2 – 3 days (my experience) after that it will wither and lose its freshness.
Mangetout doesn’t freeze well – either raw or blanched. It gets soft and the texture is not crunchy and crisp anymore.
If picked young the string running along the side of each pod will be soft and doesn’t have to be removed before eating as opposed to the other types of pea pods.