Green. English. Garden. Frozen peas go by many names. But in June, the name you want is fresh.

Most supermarkets sell shelled fresh peas, but at many farmers markets, the little pearls come in nature’s own packaging. For the sweetest, least-starchy peas, look for firm, plump pods that aren’t wrinkled with age.

For maximum sweetness, you want to eat your peas as soon as possible. And you don’t want to shell them until right before you prepare them.

To shuck the peas, break off one tip of the pod, remove the strings that run along the seams, then push out the fresh peas. Expect roughly 1 cup of shelled peas for each pound of pods.

Then just steam or boil them until tender, 2–5 minutes.

Another strategy: Let the eaters have all the fun. Steam or grill intact pods whole, then eat the cooked peas straight out of them (like you would edamame).

Toss the empty pods in your compost pile or freeze them for your next veggie stock (see

We’re talking legumes, so a (60-calorie) half cup of peas is a good source of folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K, with a nice dose of fiber and protein (about 4 grams each).

And don’t forget snow peas and snap peas for a crunchy salad or a quick stir-fry any time of year. Pass the peas, please!