John D. Ivanko
June 6, 2012

Lisa Kivirist picks pea pods on her farm in Wisconsin. Photo by John Ivanko (
Photo by John Ivanko
Lisa picks peas at Inn Serendipity, our farm and bed-and-breakfast in Wisconsin.

Here’s a basic law of food preservation that we too often forget in our family: Frozen zucchini is not red wine. Translation: Preserve what you need, eat it up over the course of the year, and start fresh the next season—especially when you freeze your garden bounty like we primarily do. We aim to finish eating last year’s frozen harvest right around now, so we can do the annual defrosting of our large chest freezer in the basement and give it a full wipe-down before stockpiling this year’s garden harvest.

But life and meal planning never work so perfectly that we finish everything in the freezer exactly when we need to unplug. There’s always extra of something, which is a sign to us that maybe we froze too much of a certain item we don’t particularly care for. We were surprised to encounter a surplus of frozen peapods last week when we unplugged as these are some of our favorite spring garden veggies. Our son, Liam, plops down in the pea row and serves himself a snack.

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Why did we have the lingering frozen pea pods? “Frozen” is the key clue here. We realized we loved the taste of the fresh pea pods, but the frozen pea pods were a little too mushy for our tastes. But that said, we also realized we didn’t cook enough with our pea pods: We just crunched on them fresh—very yummy!—but once we ate our fill raw we just started freezing. We never really ate the fresh pea pods in a cooked fashion, still tender and crunchy.

So here’s our new resolution this season: Limit the frozen pea pods, and experiment with new ways to eat fresh pods beyond the raw crunch. The lesson learned: Certain garden bounty, like peapods, need to be relished in the moment, sometimes with a dash of savory sauce, like in this Spring Peapod Stirfry recipe. You can use either snap peas or snow peas in this recipe. Remember to “string” snap peas: Snap off the stem tip toward the flat side of the pod and pull downward, pulling off that string. Come back next week for a Wisconsin (think cheese and cream) version of fresh spinach!

Recipe: Spring Peapod Stirfry

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T. sesame oil
  • 1 pound fresh pea pods (about 5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion, mushrooms and garlic until onions and mushrooms are tender.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until peas are tender, about 5 minutes.

Savoring the good life,

John and Lisa's Signatures

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