A newcomer of five years to mini farming, I use Eliot Coleman’s book, “Four-Season Harvesting”, as my instruction manual.
One idea I found intriguing was by growing your own produce you can harvest any part of any plant at any time. This has given me produce I never see in the grocery store. A whole new adventure in cooking.
Now I have a stuffed squash blossom party for my family each year! I can toss a salad with ten varieties of lettuce! I can sauté baby collards, baby Swiss chard, baby kale, baby beet greens with freshly picked garlic and add to my fresh scrambled eggs from my feathered “girls.” And now my latest discovery: garlic scapes!
Last October I planted my first garlic bed. Recently I noticed some leaves turning brown. That signals harvest time. I also noticed a curling stem with a bulb towards the end, shooting up between the leaves.
Internet research revealed that they are garlic scapes. The bulb contains bulbils which will pop open and is used for propagation. If this stem is left on the garlic plant, it will absorb strength from the garlic bulb and produce a smaller garlic. If harvested, there are numerous uses for the scape.
It can be boiled, steamed, sautéed, pureed, or chopped. It can be an ingredient in soups, stir fry, casseroles, dips, salads. Try slicing the tender part of the stem and using it for fresh garlic flavor on potatoes or in pasta dishes. The curled part can be a garnish. It is considered gourmet in restaurants and hard to find.
Garlic is great for flavor, medicinal purposes and nutrition. In June and July it is enhanced by its scapes. Try a local farmer for this treat.
Cheesy Garlic Scape Recipe
1 large loaf of French or artesian bread
2 tbs room temperature butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs finely minced garlic scape (tender part of stem)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Use a serrated knife and slice the loaf in half lengthwise.
2. In a small bowl stir together butter, oil, and minced garlic scapes. Spread evenly onto both sides of bread, then sprinkle cheese on both sides.
3. Put the bread on a baking sheet (each side facing up) and put under a low broiler just until the bread is toasty and the cheese is melted.