As mentioned earlier, last fall we planted all of our varieties of garlic that we carry. These varieties include German Extra Hardy, Chet’s Italian Red, Chesnok Red, Persian Star and Music. The process was rather easy, though a little time consuming. We tilled up the field, mounded up the rows, planted the garlic bulbs and then covered with a thick layer of straw. The straw not only helps control those pesky weeds but is vital in protecting the garlic through the cold winter months.
Just like anything you plant in the garden, part of the wonder and excitement of gardening is seeing your little seeds or bulbs sprout up, poking up through the soil. In the beginning, my husband and I would take our 2 Aussie’s, Pardner and Angel Bear, out with us to the field, and peak under the straw to see if our garlic had poked through the dirt yet. And of course, when we found one that had, we expressed our joy and kept checking down the rows to see how everything looked.
In early June, on one of our frequent trips to the farm, we noticed the beginning of garlic scapes. What are garlic scapes you ask? Garlic scapes are the flower stalks that grow on the hardneck varieties. It is important to cut the garlic scapes off the garlic, otherwise all the energy of the plant will be diverted and you will not get a nice plump bulb. Because we want a nice plump bulb for our customers, we had a team spend a few hours cutting the scapes off all of our hardneck varieties.
When all was said and done, we probably had 60-70 lbs of garlic scapes ready for use. Garlic scapes are extremely tasty. If you cut when they are young enough, you can cut and toss into salads. You may sautee them and use in pastas, stir-fry, you name it. We gave most of it a way, as there was no way I could handle that many pounds of garlic scapes by myself. What was left we decided to pickle. I found an easy recipe and currently have a plethora of jars sitting in the fridge, waiting to be eaten in a couple of weeks! If you would like to try, here is the recipe that I used:
Pickled Garlic Scapes
About 15 garlic scapes
1 dried chile (optional)
1 cup cider vinegar
4 teaspoons fine sea salt
4 teaspoons sugar
1 pint jar
- Trim the garlic scapes, curl them up and place them in a pint jar.
- Work the chile, if you’re using it, into the jar with the garlic scapes.
- In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar, salt and sugar with 1 cup of water until simmering and salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Pour the warm vinegar mixture over the garlic scapes to cover them. Seal the jar. Let it sit until cool, then store in refrigerator for at least 6 weeks and up to six months.
Do you have any garlic scape recipes you would like to share? We would love to hear from you! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .