How To Store Cooked Peas For Maximum Freshness

A sure sign of spring is the appearance of piles of fresh peas in their shells on your grocery store's vegetable aisles and in farmer's markets. Shelling the sweet seasonal vegetable is not hard, but it's a time-consuming labor of love, so it's important to learn how to keep them fresh once they're out of their pods and cooked. One tip to remember: As peas sit in your fridge, their natural sugars turn to starch, making them a bit less flavorful, so plan to cook fresh peas quickly after you buy them.

One of the many mistakes that people make with fresh peas is overcooking them. A quick steam in the microwave or on the stove is all that's needed to cook these little green spheres fully. You'll see the dull exterior turn a vivid, bright green, which is your sign to stop cooking. To store cooked peas, put them in a shallow container so the heat escapes quickly and then refrigerate tightly covered.

Storing and using your fresh peas

With a batch of cooked peas on hand, you can easily toss a handful into fresh green salads or grain bowls or add them to a springy homemade pasta dish. Of course, just a quick warm in melted butter with a shower of shredded mint leaves would also be a perfect way to show off fresh peas while they're in season.

Cooked peas will last in the refrigerator for up to a week. But they're better as fresh as possible so aim to eat them within the first four days for the tastiest results. Any longer than that, you'll begin to notice the moisture around the peas becoming slimy, and the peas will begin to discolor as they go bad — that's your sign to discard them. If, in the excitement of finding fresh peas, you buy more than you can use in a couple of days, it's best to freeze the extras, once briefly cooked. Pat them dry and lay them out flat on a baking sheet in the freezer until they're fully frozen. You can then scoop them into a zip-top bag to store until you're ready. Then, they're best eaten within about eight months. Remember, they've already been cooked, so just warm the frozen peas lightly to avoid an overly mushy texture.