Sweet peas, also called shelling peas or English peas, enjoy a short springtime run in most areas, so grab them while you can. Deborah Madison, a Fine Cooking contributor, advises picking pods that swell rather than bulge, a sign that the peas inside are mid-size and sweet, rather than oversize and starchy. Avoid yellowed pods or those that look dried out. Cook fresh peas briefly, just until heated through.
When it comes to adding other flavors, fresh peas are versatile, but their sweet freshness is best shown off when you keep the preparation simple: toss warm peas with cultured butter, crème fraîche, or nut oil. I love puréeing them into a simple Fresh Pea Soup.