Peas: Main Image

Buying Tips

Peas are sold fresh in the pod, dried (either whole or split), frozen, and canned. Canned peas are a duller green because their chlorophyll is destroyed by the heat of the canning process. Both fresh and frozen peas are superior to canned for nutrition and flavor. Look for fresh stems when buying fresh peas.


Among the more than 1,000 varieties of garden pea, the most common are smooth peas, the type generally sold frozen, and the wrinkled variety, which is generally canned. Other varieties include the sugar snap pea and snow pea, both of which have edible pods. Beyond the garden pea varieties are the gray or field pea, primarily used as fodder crop, and the wild Mediterranean pea sometimes called the oasis or maquis pea. Dried peas are available whole or split, and are either green or yellow.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2024.