Canning Sugar Snap Peas
A Healthy Snack that Can be Enjoyed All Year Long!
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Sugar snap peas are a quintessential part of a spring garden. Ideally, this vegetable is enjoyed fresh or slightly sautéed in order to enjoy the flavor. However, canning sugar snap peas allows for the harvest to be preserved well into the winter months.
The most enjoyable thing about pickled snap peas is the opportunity to experiment with spices, herbs, and the type of vinegar used. Making each time they are preserved an adventure to create a new flavor.
Also, in addition to canning sugar snap peas, think about fermenting them!
Selecting Spices, Herbs, and Vinegar
There once was a time when tested recipes were considered safe for canning. Agencies such as the National Center for Home Food Preservation provided recipes ensuring that the pH balance was met in order for the item to be canned. Creating new recipes, or canning family recipes, was frowned upon.
Luckily, in 2014 the USDA, National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP), Ball, and many extension offices began dropping hints that creating your own recipes is in fact safe. Herbs and spices can be adjusted according to your desired taste. The use of salt can be minimized, and granulated sugar can be swapped for other sweeteners.
Distilled white vinegar has its place in canning pickled items. But for a more sophisticated flavor try a pickled item made with either white wine, red wine, rice, or balsamic vinegars. The most important factor to keep in mind is this, whatever type of vinegar you chose must be 5% acidity or higher.
I advise using herbs and spices sparingly in home canned goods. Over time, the longer canned foods sit, the herbs and spices amplify in flavor. A little goes a long way, especially in canned goods.
It’s All in the Water
I am a firm believer that spring water is the best water to use for canning. Spring water, whether directly from the source or bottled, does not contain hydrogen sulfide, chlorine, or fluoride. Whereas city water contains both chlorine and fluoride, and wells contain various levels of hydrogen sulfide.
If spring water is not available, boil city water prior to canning, to eliminate any traces of chlorine and fluoride.
Once pickled, sugar snap peas are considered a highly acidic item, making them able to be canned using a hot water bath canner or steam canner.
My preference is a steam canner. This canner is ideal for glass stovetops, uses two inches of water, minimizes the amount of heat released during the canning process, and safely processes jars through the use of steam.
In addition to a canner, make sure to have the necessary canning tools:
Air bubble remover
Regardless if you are canning or cooking, it is best to use non-reactive pots. Aluminum pots are reactive. Meaning, aluminum has a high risk of leaching into food and altering the flavor. Non-reactive pots are copper, stainless steel, and enamel Dutch ovens.
There are two types of mason jars which are used for canning, wide and regular mouth. When canning sugar snap peas, it is best to use regular mouth jars. The shape of the jar helps to hold the snap peas in place, preventing the snap peas from floating during the canning process.
Canning jars will need to be washed prior to filling them. This process can be done in the dishwasher or by hand with warm soapy water. Ball has stated new jars, ones directly from the package, do not need to be prewashed and are ready to be used.
The NCHFP states that jars are not required to be sterilized unless they are exceptionally dirty. At that point, wash jars, then submerge them in boiling water for 10 minutes prior to using them for canning.
Since the processing time for many home canned foods is at least 10 minutes or more (at 0 to 1,000 ft elevation), the jars are sterilized as they are being processed. Because of this, pre-sterilization of jars is not needed. With that said, if the processing time falls short of 10 minutes, the jars must be sterilized prior to adding food to them.
Determining the Processing Time
The processing time for all home canned goods is based on the elevation in which you reside. Through extensive testing by the National Center for Home Food Preservation, the base processing time for each home canned food is determined. From there, the processing time increases by five minutes based on the elevation. Find your elevation at any of the following websites:
• City website
• Google Maps
• My elevations app
Raw Packing Sugar Snap Peas | Processing time Based on Elevation
0 – 1000 ft. base processing time
1,001 – 6000 ft. increase processing time by five minutes
Above 6,000 ft. increase processing time by 10 minutes
Food not properly processed with the correct processing time runs the risk of spoiling. Keep in mind, no two recipes are the same, the processing time is different for each recipe. For example, the base processing time for canning sugar snap peas is different than the processing time for canning apples.
Pickled Snap Peas
4 pounds sugar snap peas
¼ tsp mustard seeds, per jar
¼ tsp dried dill, per jar (or small sprig of fresh)
1 small clove fresh garlic, per jar
¼ tsp dried red pepper flakes, per jar (optional)
4 cups spring water
4 cups white wine vinegar
½ cup pickling salt
Canning Sugar Snap Peas
Hot water bath or steam canner
6 pints, give or take
Air bubble remover
Mini slow cooker (to warm lids)
Clean dish towel
Measuring cups, liquid and dry
12-quart stainless steel stock pot
Wash jars and warm lids for canning.
Prepare the hot water bath canner or steam canner.
Wash and trim the ends from the sugar snap peas.
Make The Brine
Add the white wine vinegar, water, and pickling salt to the stock pot. Bring to a boil.
Fill the Jars
In each jar, add mustard seeds, dried dill weed, fresh garlic, and dried crushed red pepper.
Next, fill jars with sugar snap peas: vertically for the first layer then horizontal to fill. Leave a one-inch headspace from the top of the jar.
With the jar funnel, slowly fill the jars with the hot brine,
leaving a ¼-inch headspace.
Slowly insert the air bubble remover along the inside of the wall of the jar to remove any air bubbles. Fill jar with additional brine if needed.
Wipe jar rims, place warmed lids on jars. Screw on rings to finger-tight. Place jars into canner.
Process pickled snap peas according to your altitude.
Will you be canning sugar snap peas in the near future? If so, let us know how they turned out in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!
Originally published in Countryside May/June 2020 and regularly vetted for accuracy.