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Know your Mange Tout

Know your Mange Tout - Introduction

Mange tout - snow peas
  • Mange tout (French for "eat everything" are edible podded peas.
  • Mange tout peas are eaten whole and have a delicate flavour, providing they are not over cooked. 

Know your Mange Tout - Varieties

  • There are two types of mange tout peas. 
    1. Snow peas are flat-podded peas, where the pod remains flat and the peas do not swell.
    2. Snap peas or sugarsnap peas or round-podded peas, which swell within the pod but the pod remains edible.

Snow peas

  • The snow pea (Pisum sativum var. saccharatum) is a variety of pea eaten whole in its pod while still unripe. 
  • The name mangetout (French for "eat all") can apply both to snow peas and to snap peas.
  • It is one of the earliest-known cultivated plants, with evidence of having been cultivated in a region that is now along the Thailand-Burma border, 12,000 years ago.
  • It is speculated that the name comes from the whitish tint reflected from the pods. It also may come because of their tendency to grow at the end of winter, just before the last spring freeze. They can be covered with snow - hence the name - during these times, but still keep growing well.
  • As with all legumes, snow peas host beneficial bacteria, rhizobia, that fix nitrogen in the soil — this is called a mutualistic relationship — and are therefore a useful companion plant, especially useful to grow intercropped with green, leafy vegetables that benefit from high nitrogen content in their soil.
  • The green shoots can also be cut and served as a vegetable as is done in Chinese cooking, especially stir-fried with garlic or shellfish such as crab.

Snap peas

  • Snap peas (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon), also known as sugarsnap peas, are a cultivar group of edible-podded peas that differ from snow peas in that their pods are round as opposed to flat. 
  • The name mangetout (French for "eat all") can apply both to snap peas and snow peas.
  • Snap peas, like all other peas, are pod fruits. 
  • An edible-podded pea is similar to a garden pea, or English pea, but the pod is less fibrous, and edible when young. 
  • Pods of the edible-podded pea, including snap peas, do not have a membrane and do not open when ripe. 
  • At maturity, the pods grow to around 4-8 cm in length, and pods contain three to five peas per pod.
  • There are several cultivars of snap peas, including 'Sugar Rae', 'Sugar Bon', 'Sugar Ann', and 'Sugar Snap'. 
  • The plants are climbing, and pea sticks or a trellis or other support system is required for optimal growth. 
  • Some cultivars are capable of climbing to 2 m high but are more commonly around 1-1.3 m for ease of harvest. 
  • Sugarsnap peas were developed by crossing Chinese snow peas with a mutant shell pea plant, performed by Drs. Lamborn and Park of Twin Falls, Idaho.

Know your Mange Tout - Cuisine

  • Mange tout is often served in salads or eaten whole. 
  • They may also be stir-fried or steamed. 
  • Before being eaten, mature snap pea pods may need to be "stringed", which means the membranous string running along the top of the pod from base to tip is removed. 
  • Over-cooking the pods will make them come apart.

Know your Mange Tout - Nutrition

  • Mange tout are rich in good quality protein, which makes them the ideal choice of meat substitute for the vegetarian.
  • Mange tout are rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C and a good source of fibre and thiamin.
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