Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Garlic Scapes: A gardeners' secret - What are they and how to harvest them?
I did not know what garlic scapes were until this year. Last fall I planted some garlic in my garden and it has been growing so nicely this season. While learning about how to keep my garlic crop, I stumbled upon a few posts about garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are no more than the flowers of the garlic plant, which grow as a curly whimsical stalk - absolutely beautiful. It appears that garlic scapes are really a gardeners' secret - they need to be removed early from the plants in order for the plant to concentrate its energy on growing the bulb and not the flowers and as an added benefit you can cook it and it tastes delicious!!!!!
How to recognize Garlic Scapes? Keep an eye on your garlic plants at the end of spring, beginning of summer (mine where ready to harvest at the end of June). You will see a long stalk with a whitish flower bud growing from the middle of the plant. The stalk will grow long and will start to curl.
You should harvest it by cutting it as close to the plant as possible when the stalk has no more than one curl. If you let it stay on the plant it will curl like a cork screw and will harden (although it will look beautiful it will be hard to eat - you can use them in flower arrangements).
You can keep your scapes in a glass of water in the fridge for a long time - you can also freeze them. You can make a variety of recipes with Garlic Scapes or you can use them as you would garlic (they do have a milder garlic flavor). For what I have seen the most talk-about recipes are Garlic Scape Pesto, Grilled Garlic Scapes and Double Garlic Soup which also uses Green Garlic.
I used mine in two recipes (click on the links): Double Garlic Soup and Beer Battered Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms with Garlic Sacpes and Bacon.
If you do not have garlic growing in your garden, you can find scapes at your local farmers market when in season.