Snap to it! Snap

Kitchen Garden|June 2020

Snap to it! Snap
This month Rob Smith explains why we should grow two much-underrated types of pea, mangetout and sugar snap
Rob Smith

Most gardeners grow peas on their allotment, veg patch or in the back garden, be it small plants in pots or tall climbing ones up canes. However, there are a couple of types of peas that aren’t as popular as they should be: sugar snaps and mangetout. Before we start talking about the differences between these two species I can’t talk about mangetout without thinking of the TV programme Only Fools and Horses! Why has no comedy-loving breeder named a mangetout ‘Rodney’?

When it comes to classifying mangetout and sugar snap peas, they are all part of the legume family and are technically peas, yet mangetout is Pisum sativum var. saccharatum and sugar snaps are Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon.

Some may think that sugar snaps and mangetout are interchangeable names for the same type of pea, yet even though there are lots of similarities between them, there are some specific differences. Mangetout (meaning ‘eat all’) have flatter pods, with small internal peas and a mild flavour, whereas sugar snaps have a rounder, more fleshy pod and are in fact a cross between a regular garden pea and a mangetout.

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June 2020