06/17/2011 11:16 am ET | Updated Aug 17, 2011

June's Salad: Peas and Mint

Nothing says spring more than the taste of fresh peas, whether they are still in the pod and you eat them whole or they're shelled little green pearls of raw, sweet pleasure. If there is any one thing worth growing in your garden, it's peas of all sorts. Unfortunately, I've been in a lifetime struggle -- between rabbits, guinea hens, and trellising solutions, I've only once really gotten the output for the effort I put into them. When I lived in my old house in the town of Emmaus, where rabbits ruled the roost, I had a custom-built "pea protector" made; it worked for a few years, but didn't quite survive the move to the country.

And about the same time the peas are popping, the mint is rising out of the earth, and unfurling its sweet, tender tips just waiting to be consumed ...

My favorite mint is apple mint, with its soft, furry, sweet leaves. And peas, well, I'll eat any of them, including the plant itself, but my favorite is fresh raw peas from the shell. And a salad is the perfect way to enjoy these two springtime beauties (other than just eating them plain and raw).

Nutrition : Peas are a great source of fiber, thiamin, folate, iron, and vitamins A and K. A cup of peas provides more than 60 percent of daily vitamin C requirements, protects against cancers, and reduces risk for cardiovascular disease.

Healing Properties: Mint is well-known for calming the stomach and, of course, freshening the breath.

For Maria's Pea and Mint Salad, go to