Weirdly enough, while most think dinner when they hear "peas," I always get flashbacks to AP Bio with Mendelian Genetics. Does that make me a nerd? Probs. But, it does show that peas are a helluva lot more interesting than just your frozen pea-and-carrot blend. In fact, there are actually several varieties of peas, and I'm sure you've wondered about the difference between two biggies: snow and snap. But, in the snow peas vs snap peas debate, there's actually another player involved. 

Wait, so there are more than two peas?

Well, there are actually a ton of subcategories of peas, but unless you're, like, really procrastinating that homework, I won't get into that. Basically, there are three main types of peas: garden, sugar, and snap. Sounds like a rice crispy slogan, but green-themed. 

Garden Peas

Also called English Peas, these are what you commonly get in a can or in bags from the freezer aisle. You're probably super familiar with chasing these guys around your plate because they're hard to stab with a fork. You don't eat the pod—well, you can, but they don't taste that great—and so you typically wait until the seeds/peas inside are fully mature. They actually have more vitamins and minerals than the other pea varieties, if you're interested in that stuff.

Fun Fact: ever see Harvest Snaps at the grocery store? They're one of my favorite healthy-ish snacks, but they actually aren't made from snap peas—they're ground up garden peas that are baked into pea shapes. The more ya know.

Garden peas are really great to eat fresh out of the shell, but you can also make this lemon quinoa pea recipe, or if you're feeling extra fancy, you can use frozen peas to make carbonara-inspired ravioli and sausage with almond milk cream sauce. Who needs to know how lazy you are?

Snow Peas

If you ever got peas in a dish you ordered from your local Chinese place, odds are that they were Snow Peas. These guys are almost flat, because they're grown for the pods, not the lil peas on the inside. They're also fairly translucent, so you can see the peas growing inside of them if you hold them up to the light.

You can boil snow peas and throw them in just about anything, but if you want to challenge yourself can try this shrimp noodle soup, this mixed veggie tofu stir-fry, or this shoyu ramen recipe, a traditional Japanese-style dish. 

Sugar Snap Peas

Finally, we get to our last variety of pea in the snow peas vs snap peas debate. Sugar peas, or snap peas, or sugar snap peas, are actually a cross between snow peas and garden peas. They were developed in the late '60s by Calvin Lamborn, who wanted the sweetness of the green pea without having to do all the hard work of shelling them. Thus, you can eat sugar peas whole, preferably by dipping them in hummus. Work smarter, not harder, friends.

Like I said, my favorite way to eat sugar peas is just to dip them in hummus, but you can totally throw them in a simple summer salad or try these roasted scallion and snap pea spring rolls with tahini sauce. Def worth the extra effort. 

Neat, but... why eat them?

You know you're supposed to eat your greens, but if you want some extra motivation for downing those lil peas, I have some wholesome news for you. Peas are low in calories—less than 100 in a cup, actually. They've also been linked to stomach cancer prevention, heart health, and are filled with antioxidants. Good things come in small packages, ya know?

Now that you've gotten past the snow peas vs snap peas issue, why not go out and grab some from your local grocery store? Or, better yet, try growing your own in your dorm. After all, we all can use some tiny plant friends to help liven up our spaces.