It's almost June and our garlic that we planted back in November is almost ready to harvest. We planted our first crop of Music Garlic last year and this will be our second year. We planted a couple more rows this time and to our surprise yesterday we discovered Garlic Scapes!!! If you aren't familiar with what a garlic scape is, let me tell you that you are in for a treat :) First of all there are different varieties of garlic and that includes the differentiation of being a hard neck variety versus a soft neck variety, not to mention every other Allium family member out there that is delicious with everything.
Hard neck varieties of garlic have more flavor and have fewer cloves but are easier to peel, whereas soft neck varieties such as Elephant Garlic can grow in warmer climates and tend to have more cloves. If you would like to learn a little more about garlic and some things to do with scapes in particular click here.
So what is a garlic scape? The variety that we planted, which is called Music Garlic is a hard neck variety so it produces a scape that grows up the center of the plant and when cut properly has a mild garlic flavor that can be used simply as green onions or scallions. The recipes out there for garlic scapes are many, and I will share a few at the end of this blog, however I wanted to talk about the importance of cutting at the proper time. Most Alliums will produce a flower but the garlic scape is picked before it flowers and it has more of a 'seed pod' as opposed to an elephant garlic that has a nice fluffy flower that is more for decoration. The scape can be used in any recipe calling for garlic.
It's also important to cut the scape before flowering because all the energy the plant needs to produce a garlic bulb goes downward instead of upward to produce a flower. Also I notice a huge difference in texture when you cut it. If cut early enough it is more tender and versatile to cook with.
Did you know that there is are garlic festivals all across the country? Well there are and if you are a lover of garlic as we are, I'm sure you will find these delicious treats as fascinating as we do :) Here is the ever popular garlic scape pesto recipe which I included in this week's CSA box:
Garlic Scape Pesto
You will need:
A bunch of garlic scales (or two depending on how much you want to make)
Chop the scapes and simply mix all the ingredients in a food processor until combined to your preferred consistency. Add more oil if necessary. Sea salt to taste