Spicy Fermented Sugar Snap Peas

These fermented sugar snap peas are healthy snacking at its best. They’re a great addition to your home preservation plans, too, as fermentation extends the shelf life of fresh produce.

Originally published in May 2015; this post has been updated.

jar of fermenting snap peas with airlock in place.

New to fermenting foods? Be sure to read this compilation of frequently asked questions before you get started!


Fermented Peas

Just about any veggie is fair game for fermentation, and peas are no exception! You can use this method with peas that have edible pods, either sugar snap peas or snow peas. The result is a spicy, crunchy, tangy snack with a pickled flavor that’s perfect for adding to a charcuterie board, tossing into salads, or snacking on straight out of the jar.

When your garden is overflowing with snap peas, be sure to make up several jars – you’ll love them.

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Snow peas growing on vine.


Peas Either sugar snap peas or snow peas – both with tender, edible pods – are suitable for this recipe. You can use the commonly available green peas or specialty purple varieties. These are both easy garden crops perfectly suited to cool weather. Find out how to grow your own peas here.

Salt Use sea salt, NOT table salt. Table salt often has anti-caking agents that can interfere with the fermentation.

Herbs and Spices These are optional, but can give the lacto fermented peas endlessly varying flavors. I used herbs that were available fresh from my garden—cilantro and basil—but you can alter the flavor to suit your taste. The red pepper flakes are what give the peas a little heat. Leave those out if you prefer a mild ferment.

fermented sugar snap peas in a long wooden dish

Making Them

These fermented snap peas require you to submerge the fresh veggies in a salt brine. It’s important that the veggies remain completely covered with liquid. If they’re exposed to oxygen, they can mold. And then you would think that fermenting doesn’t work, and that’s totally not true! You just have to do it right.

To make the brine, dissolve salt in water. Set aside. 

Place herbs and spices in the bottom of each jar. Fill the jars with peas, packing tightly and allowing about an inch and a half or so of headspace. Pour brine over the peas, making sure they are fully submerged. 

Use a weight to hold the peas under the brine. 

Tip: When the sugar snap peas are actively fermenting, there’s a chance that the brine will bubble up and overflow. Placing the jars on a plate or tray will prevent a leaky mishap.
Allow the fermenting peas to sit at room temperature for several days or a week (or so!). The longer they sit, the more tangy they will become. There is no exact number of days to make this happen.


Municipal tap water contains chlorine, which can inhibit fermentation, so be sure to use filtered water or distilled water instead. A Berkey water filter provides clean water that’s free of toxins. Great for making your drinking water free of chemicals, but perfect for fermentation, too.


Once the peas are fermented to your liking, transfer them to the refrigerator. They’ll keep in the fridge for months. Alternatively, you can keep them in a cool cellar space if you have one.

close up of fermented snap peas on a wooden tray, jar in the background.

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Fermented Sugar Snap Peas

Fermented Sugar Snap Peas

Yield: 2 pints
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

These fermented sugar snap peas are a great spicy snack, and healthy too!


  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2-3 cups fresh sugar snap peas
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • optional: fresh herbs, dill, basil, cilantro, rosemary, garlic


Make the brine:

  1. Stir sea salt into water until dissolved.

Pack your jars:

  1. Place a sprig or two of your chosen herb in the bottom of two pint-sized, wide rim mason jars along with red pepper flakes. Pack snap peas into jar tightly. To do this, I find it’s easier to hold the jars almost horizontally, stacking the peas in one direction until the jar is full. Use smaller peas to fill any gaps. Leave 1.5″ space at top. 
  2. Pour brine over peas until they are submerged. 
  3. Place a fermentation weight on top of peas to prevent floating, then cap jars. Allow to ferment at room temperature for several days or a week.
  4. Once fermented to your liking, store peas in the refrigerator.


Water: Municipal tap water contains chlorine, which can inhibit fermentation. Be sure to use spring or distilled water instead.

Salt: Salt with iodine or anti-caking agents can inhibit fermentation.

The amount of time required for fermentation will vary based on air temperature and your desired level of tanginess.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 53Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 801mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

7 comments… add one
  • Jeannie Woodring Jul 19, 2020 @ 13:33

    Thanks so much for these super easy methods of fermentation with far less salt than other recipes. I just put 4 quarts of fermented cauliflower and a quart of fermented broccoli into my new mini “fermentation fridge.” I love not heat processing stored veggies and having more nutritious variety than frozen veggies. I’ll pass your website on to my friends.

  • Anya Aug 30, 2018 @ 20:38

    Hi! I have everything but the fermentools seal and airlock thing, can I do without? I’m not familiar with fermenting but have been trying to get myself to do it…and now I have peas galore!

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 4, 2018 @ 17:58

      You can do it without, of course. Just be sure that the peas are *completely submerged with a weight of some sort. Screw a lid on to prevent fruit flies, but you’ll need to loosen the lid 1-2x a day to release gasses that build up.

  • Fran Apr 9, 2018 @ 20:26

    I wasn’t sure about these at first, but they’re growing on me.

  • Kirsten Aug 22, 2015 @ 14:39

    Thanks for this recipe! I’ve added it to the Farm Fresh Feasts Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me who love to eat from the farm share.
    I appreciate your help in making this index better!

  • Angi @ SchneiderPeeps May 6, 2015 @ 3:01

    I’m going try this with green beans. It looks wonderful!

  • Melissa May 5, 2015 @ 2:14

    Excellent! I’ve been wondering about Fermentools! Glad to hear it all works as it should! Um…and pickled snap peas sound divine! As soon as I have a few peas coming in, I’ll have to give this a try 🙂

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