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Plants & Gardens Blog

Eat Local: Snap Peas and Garlic Scape Mint Dip

Sweet, crunchy, juicy snap peas are a special seasonal treat. They are bigger than a snow pea, closer to the size of a shelling pea, yet the whole pod is edible. They are sometimes called mange-touts at the farmers’ market—look for full yet tender pods with a bright green color.

To grow your own, start seeds in early spring or late summer. Peas like cool weather to germinate, so offer some shade if it’s hot. Direct sow three to four seeds per group, 12 inches apart. Use a trellis, woody trimmings, or mesh netting for support, as vines can get heavy. Protect with floating row cover or netting if birds or squirrels dig up seedlings.

snap peas growing on a trellis
Photo by Maureen O’Brien.

Keep well-watered and pick when pods are fully developed, yet not tough. Snap peas make a tasty raw snack right off the vine. Or if you manage to get some back to the kitchen, try this almost-no-cook recipe. The dip includes mint and garlic scapes, the green shoots of the garlic plant and another farmers’ market (and CSA) favorite.

Almost-No-Cook Snap Peas with Garlic Scape and Mint Dip

snap peas on a tray next to a bowl of dip
Photo by Maureen O'Brien.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound snap peas
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon garlic scapes, tender stem only, chopped (or regular garlic)
  • Juice from half a large lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves packed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Buttermilk or water to thin if desired
a measuring cup full of green leaves, a set of measuring spoons, a container of sour cream, a lemon half
Photo by Maureen O’Brien.

Method

Snip off the tips of the peas and remove stringy “zippers” if needed. In a small saucepan, bring a half-inch of water to boil, then add the snap peas. Cook for 2 minutes, remove from heat and refresh quickly in cold water, then drain.

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and process with an immersion blender until smooth. A food processor or regular blender will also work, but the immersion blender is super quick and easy to clean. Thin with buttermilk or water if desired.

Arrange peas on a plate with the dip in the center as an appetizer or drizzle the dip over the peas for a side dish.

More Quick, Easy Recipes

a salad made of snap peas
Photo by Maureen O’Brien.

For a quick side dish or light lunch, prep snap peas as above, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, half a large lemon, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and fresh mint leaves, torn. Toss and serve on a bed of mixed greens. Heaven.

For a heartier meal, add 2 ounces cooked angel hair pasta, plus more olive oil and 2 tablespoons pasta water, 1 ounce grated parmesan or crumbled feta, and some halved kalamata olives. Again, heaven.

The Eat Local series features seasonal, locally available ingredients and recipes. It was the recipienct of a 2016 Silver Medal for Blog Writing from the Garden Writers Association.

Maureen O’Brien is the community field manager at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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