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Edible podded peas one of spring's signature vegetables

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Edible podded peas are available now at many Indianapolis-area farmers markets (full disclosure - I sell mine at the Cumberland, Indiana market on Saturday morning). There are two kinds of edible podded peas - snow peas, which are flat and often found in stir-fry, and snap peas, which resemble green beans. Both are sweet, crunchy and best when they're eaten raw or just lightly sauteed.

To prepare the peas for cooking, cut off the small hard stem end and wash away any blossom pieces that may be stuck to the pod. If the pods have gotten too large, it may be necessary to remove the inner string (the pod "zipper") as well.

Because edible podded peas have such a delicate flavor, they need to be paired with other subtly flavored food items. The following pasta dish is a nice, light meal that blends seafood, peas and a hint of citrus.

Snow peas, shrimp and pasta
1/2 lb. snow peas
1 lb. frozen cocktail-size shrimp, thawed
3 c. cooked pasta, drained
4 oz. butter or olive-oil spread
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 scallions or green onions, minced

In large skillet, melt butter. Add scallions and shrimp and saute lightly until shrimp are heated through, about 3 minutes. Add snow peas, saute an additional minute. Add lemon juice and pasta, and toss until contents are thoroughly mixed. Serves 4.

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