The natural outer covering that houses the seeds of legumes like beans, lentils, peas and soybeans. The pods of many legumes are too tough to be eaten and must be removed (shelled), whereas some—like the snow pea—have very tender pods that are deliciously edible.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.