Monday, 30 June 2014

Know Your Ingredients: Garlic Scapes

Image courtesy Creative Commons 

Brandi and Brianna, the garden coordinators here at Our Greener Village Community Food Centre, just came into the kitchen with an armful of garlic scapes – an ingredient that might be somewhat unfamiliar to our readers. To that end, we bring you the basics on this easily grown ingredient and some ideas of what to do with it.

Garlic scapes are the flower stalk from the hard-neck garlic plant. This shoot is sent up about a month after the first leaves appear. As they mature, this stalk get curly and then straightens out as the bulb continues to mature. Since most gardeners are growing garlic for the bulbs, they don’t want the plant diverting energy away from that project and into flowers. Most gardeners cut the scapes off and either compost them or bring them into the kitchen.

When the scapes are very young and tender, they can be chopped raw and added to a salad or used as a topping like one would use chopped green onions. The more mature scapes are tougher and can be sautĂ©ed lightly and used in any dish that would benefit from the addition of garlic. Many people add them to pasta dishes or use them to make pesto.  

If you have more than you can use, they will keep for about a month in the refrigerator crisper area in a paper bag. They also freeze but will lose their flavour gradually over 2 or 3 months.

Enjoy them while you can – these are an early summer treat. 

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