Don't let those scapes escape!
Garlic is one of my favorite crops to grow. The positive attributes of garlic are countless. Here are a few of my faves:
It has a ton of health benefits. Garlic is a great source of anti-oxidants, which means eating a healthy dose of garlic can help boost your immune system and fight off colds. You can read more interesting tidbits about garlic’s health benefits in this Huffington Post article. (Maybe we can change that age-old saying to, “A clove a day keeps the doctor away?”)
It’s super easy to grow. Plant garlic in the fall, mulch it, and in spring watch for its green tops to start poking through the mulch. It’s one of the earlier signs of spring (and my favorite).
Last, but not least, garlic produces delicious scapes in the beginning of summer! Those stems that curl around at the top of your garlic are actually the flowers of your garlic plants, and are a nice treat to wet your appetite until your garlic is ready to harvest.
If left on the plant, that cone-ish area of the stalk will open up into a flower and set seed. Those seeds are edible too, but since we typically eat the garlic bulb (and we can grow new garlic from the bulb’s cloves) those scapes aren’t really necessary.
In fact, if you want a nice hunk of a garlic bulb, it’s best to cut those scapes off. If left on, the garlic plant will focus its energy on producing its seeds for reproduction. When you cut the scapes, not only are you harvesting yourself a nice little treat, but you’re also coaxing your garlic into focusing its energy on growing its bulb size.
Once the center stalk has fully formed and grown just above the rest of the plant, the scape is ready to be cut! Just cut it as far down as you can without cutting the leaves off.
Garlic scapes have a milder garlic flavor, and taste much like a cross between green onions and garlic. You can use scapes just as you would regular ole cloves. You can also enjoy your garlic scapes in a multitude of other ways:
- Roast ‘em up and put them on your pizza or use as a side dish (roast at about 350 degrees for 20 minutes on an oiled cookie sheet)
- Make some garlic scape pesto
- Saute them, pickle them, add them to soups
Let us know how you enjoy your garlic scapes!