Edible-podded sugar snap peas (Pisum sativum): description and behavior in southern Chile

Mario Mera1*, Elizabeth Kehr1, Jaime Mejías1, Mónica Ihl2 y Valerio Bifani2

Sugar snap peas (Pisum sativum L.) are edible-podded peas that, unlike snow (Chinese) peas, have thick pod walls. They are the result of the combination of at least six recessive genes controlling pod and grain traits, and two others are being incorporated in modern cultivars. Sugar snap peas may be consumed fresh or frozen, and are highly appreciated in the United States and other countries. Six genotypes from the USA were evaluated at two locations in La Araucania Region in southern Chile in 2004 and 2005. Most sugar snap varieties showed yields similar to a freezable cultivar used as a check. Yield differences among sugar snap varieties were small and inconsistent; however, cv. Sweet Ann performed relatively well and showed the best freezing quality. Over 15 t ha-1 of pods were obtained under favorable conditions, suggesting that yields around 10 t ha-1 are quite achievable commercially. All varieties presented, at variable levels, suture on both dorsal and ventral sides of the pods. A mild frost (-2 °C), harmless to the plant, may also deteriorate the appearance of the pods. Sugar snap peas are a delicate produce and, if well managed, can be a sound option to diversify Chilean horticultural offer.

Keywords: edible pod, horticultural pea, freezing vegetable.
1 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Centro Regional de Investigación Carillanca, Casilla 58-D, Temuco, Chile. E-mail: mmera@inia.cl *Autor para correspondencia.
2 Universidad de La Frontera, Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Casilla 54-D, Temuco, Chile.