Sweet peas, garden peas, pod peas, English peas – I don't care what you call them. The fresh, plump, sweet peas that you pop out of their pods, which my family can eat pound after pound right from the pod before it ever occurs to us to cook them are one of the great eating pleasures of spring.
When you are done eating them raw, barely warming them with steam and serving them with melted butter is a nice way to go. I like to cook fresh peas with pearl couscous for a light spring dish or pureed a pot of minted pea soup. Or try one of these spring pea recipes.
When the peas themselves no longer capture your imagination, be sure to note their greens – the long, tangled vines for sale at some farmers markets that have a bit of that sweet pea essence to them. Pea greens are wonderful simply steamed or sautéed – just be sure to buy only the youngest, most tender vines (take a bite of the stem end, if you must).