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Boiling This Popular Frozen Vegetable is a Big Mistake — Here’s Why


Recently, I’ve seen a bunch of tips about how to cook frozen peas. Wait a minute. Really? Frozen peas are among the simplest thing in the world to cook: All you do is open the bag and pour them into a pot of boiling water. Right? Turns out, there’s a right and a wrong way to cook this popular frozen vegetable. And if you’ve been boiling those tiny frozen pellets of spring goodness, you might want to reconsider.

How to Cook Frozen Peas

Mushy peas might be a favorite food in Great Britain, but here in America, we like our peas bright green, sweet, and — well, not mushy. But if you’re looking for a crisp, fresh, and delicious plate of peas, boiling them isn’t the way to go. What’s more, boiling peas saps them of their nutritional value. And what’s the point of eating your veggies, if they’re not even good for you?

How should we cook frozen peas, if not by boiling them? There are a few ways to cook frozen peas that will yield better results than a pot of bubbling water. Steaming is by far the healthiest of these, as you don’t need to add any oil or butter. Just pour your peas into a steamer basket (like this one from Prep Solutions — Buy from Walmart, $6), place the basket in a larger pot with some water in the bottom, and turn up the heat until they’re tender. You can also sauté frozen peas in a skillet or saucepan with a little oil or butter.

Sautéeing sounded best to me, so I searched for a recipe and found one I loved. Keep reading to find out how to make the best frozen peas I’ve ever tried!

The Best Frozen Peas Recipe Ever

This frozen peas recipe, from the blog Favorite Family Recipes, is great if you’d like to add a little bit of creaminess to your peas. Yes, it uses a somewhat shocking amount of butter, but let’s face it — anything is better with butter. The other thing that surprised me was the two teaspoons of sugar it calls for. But, wanting to stay true to the recipe, that went in, too.

Rather than boiling or blanching (submerging a frozen item in boiling water for a short time, then putting it in ice water directly afterward to stop the cooking process), this recipe directs you to pour the peas right into your sauté pan along with the butter, sugar, and a few cloves of crushed garlic. Here’s what mine looked like in the pan before cooking:

Frozen peas, pre-sautéKate Gross

The next instruction was to stir the peas on medium heat for five to seven minutes. After about three minutes, I started to worry that the butter might not melt in time, so I turned the heat up slightly and kept stirring.

In exactly six minutes, my peas were done. I added a pinch of salt, let them cool, and dug in. They were some of the best peas I’ve ever tasted. Bright, spring green, slightly sweet, a bit of crunch — and the whole thing only took ten minutes!

Yum!Kate Gross

The recipe’s authors also suggest leaving the garlic out and adding a few sprigs of mint to the peas, for a fresh spring flavor — maybe next time I’ll try that trick. In the meantime, I’ve found my new go-to way of making frozen peas! Mushy peas: You’re fired.

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