I am fond of this time of year for many reasons. The most recent reason I’ve added to the list is harvesting the scapes from fall planted garlic. This is the second growing season that I’ve participated in growing more than I could in a typical home garden.
The scapes are the young, tender stocks of hardneck varieties of garlic. When you trim off the scape it lets the plant focus on giving energy to the bulb beneath the earth. The longer the scapes are left growing the tougher their texture and the sharper their flavour they will be. I wait for two curls to form and break them off where they naturally break away, much like asparagus. Some people harvest them with a single curl.
Scapes have many culinary uses. They can be eaten on their own as a vegetable cooked in many different ways or used as a supporting flavour in anything you would use garlic in. My personal favourite is to puree it with oil. I find this the most versatile preparation because it leaves its use very open ended and will store well for a long time.
As an experiment I am currently attempting to ferment some in the same way brine pickles are made. I am patiently waiting to see how they taste when they’re done.
Garlic Scape Pesto
- Garlic Scapes
- Sunflower Seeds
- Sunflower Oil
- Herbs – basil, parsley, etc (optional)
- Wash scapes, dry completely. Slice scapes as thin as you can. In a mortar grind sunflower seeds with salt and optionally with herbs. Mix scapes and seeds with just enough oil to cover. If you have a food processor puree scapes, seeds and herbs then add the oil after the mixture is the texture you desire.
- Ensure there is a thin layer of oil on the top, cover and store in the fridge until needed. It can also be placed in ice cube trays and frozen until needed. One of my favourite uses is to add this to roasted or mashed potatoes.