Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are a secret treat as far as I can tell, known only to garlic growers and the occasional lucky farmer's market shopper (I've never seen them at our market though).  I had never heard of them before this year when we finally managed to grow some garlic properly.  Or at least the garlic looks proper so far!  We haven't harvested yet so we shall see!
Garlic scapes are the curled tops of the growing garlic plant.  At the end of the curl a blossom is forming.  In order to encourage the growth of a good head of garlic the scape is cut off preventing flowering.

We only have enough garlic for a couple meals worth of scapes which is too bad because I would like to experiment more with them.  I feel there is a learning curve to new ingredients and I am quite certain that two recipes was not enough for me to master them.  Still, they were quite good both the ways I prepared them.  I cut the scapes into sections, kind of like green beans.  The first time they were roasted with some other veggies and the second time stir-fried with some of our snow peas.  I didn't eat the blossom part....maybe you can, but I didn't.  One thing is for sure, I will be planting tons more garlic come fall if this harvest proves as good as I hope it will be.  Then I will have loads of scapes to experiment with....and lots of garlic to enjoy.

Garlic is possibly my favorite seasoning/flavor.  I put it in just about everything I cook, barring sweets.   It would be a serious benefit to both our taste buds and our wallets for Matt and I to produce our own garlic.  However, at this point we are no where near supplying my ravenous demand!  Oh well, that just means I can support the local, pesticide-free garlic farmer at the farmer's market for at least another year.

The scapes were not garlicy tasting, at least not to me.  I am not really sure how to describe the taste and I imagine that changes depending on the cooking method so I won't even try.  In any case, they were homegrown, green veggies so garlicky or not they were great!  They had a very satisfying, crisp texture.  Scapes will definitely be one more thing for me to look forward to in the garden each year.

9 comments:

  1. OH! Just chop the whole thing up - flower start and all. We had them in scrambled eggs -OH YUM! The taste is quite unique and I'm sure some people will not like them but those of us that adore garlic will. We plant in October and mulch well and forget about them until Spring.

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  2. Hmmm, see, this is where the problem lies. I have been looking for curly and just found out my scapes are straight! And, I have flowers. Yes, you can eat the flower. I also just found out in the last few months what a scape was. You can plant cloves of garlic that you get from the farmer's market, some at different times of the year, from what I have heard. What do you have to lose. You can interplant those with the shrubs or flowers. Someone I trust even said the garlic is okay if the scapes flower. But, I don't know.

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  3. Hiya,
    I grew a bumper crop of garlic last season, over 300 bulbs. I had bought a kilo from an organic palnt and seed producer, so I could get certified virus free and all that. Cost me $38 Australian.
    So it produced the 300 bulbs which I sold cheap to my friends enough to recoup the $38. So I felt good. It is near impossible to buy
    Australian garlic in the green grocers here. All comes from China or Mexico. Well sorry but I don't want to buy them as they are fumigated upon entry into the country.
    I am interested in your scapes. I thought the flower shoot was inedible! I have seen it on cooking shows and maybe read it that when you cut up garlic to cook, if it has the little green shoot inside you should remove it as it is inedible. Well this shoot goes on to become the flower spike. What inedible means I don't know, I thought it meant it would just go thru you undigested. Food for thought!
    Dayla
    ps please what is folfing?

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  4. Becky - I was hoping you'd chime in! That was how we planted our garlic as well, though our spring starts later than yours so ours are still green and growing.

    Parsimony - I believe some of our plants are from cloves from the local garlic farmer. Matt would know for sure.

    Dayla- Wow....300 bulbs. It makes my mouth water to think about that much garlic! And next season you can play around with scapes! Merriam-Webster Dictionary says inedible means "not fit to be eaten." I eat the little shoot inside a head when I cut it up too. Hmmmmm....I never thought about it. I just love garlic so I ate it.

    AJK- They were. But, as you well know, most things plucked from the garden and pretty darn yummy!

    And now I know I should just eat the flower too!

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  5. Great tip! We love chive & green onion scapes, so it seems garlic would be a natural.

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  6. If you are looking for some more to play with, Good Earth Market is selling them for like $4 a bunch!

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  7. Hmmm, maybe that explains why our garlic didn't bulb last year. I am off to check for scrapes.

    Oh, and hope your day went ok after your late night.

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  8. Hitching Post - I just saw them down there! I apparently have not been paying attention in years past.

    Homemaker- We pulled out garlic bulbs this morning and we definitely have heads this year, unlike last years pathetic attempt. However, they are still not the huge heads I would hope for. I think there is more to this plant than I yet know so I have a book Becky recommended and am learning up before fall rolls around and catches me off guard. There is so much to learn!

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!