They won’t be there next week. We generally try to get some from a grower but ya gotta be quick. Once they cut them they generally offer them for about a week and then they are gone for the season.
Have you seen those vibrant, green, curly tangles and wondered what they were? If you grow garlic your well aware of the scapes. If not you may have seen them at a Farmers Market.
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What are they? They are the stalks that grow from the bulb of the planted garlic. Not to be confused with the leave that shoot up, the scape will grow up as a single shoot among the leaves. If not harvested ahead of time they will eventually boom. The main reason to harvest them off the plant is because they draw energy from the bulb. We want the bulb to grow in size and be flavorful so its the best practice to snip the scapes off before they bloom.
Garlic scapes generally start to show up from early to mid June. At first the scapes are relatively tender and just right to use as an addition to a variety of dishes. If not harvested at this earlier state the plant will continue to mature. Eventually the scapes, that were once kind of curly begin to straighten. When this happens it becomes a lot tougher and isn’t quite as suitable for most recipes.
Scapes taste a lot like chives or scallions, yet – a hint of the garlicky flavor remains and are a flavorful addition to a lot of sauces, salads, soups, stir fry and about any dish you would use chives, onions or garlic in.
Scapes boast much of the same healthful benefits of the garlic. They contain several vitamins and minerals. One example is 1 cup of garlic scapes has about 250mg of calcium.
Prepping the scapes is a snap. Cut off any of the lower part that seems hard. Then cut off the upper part right below the bulb. Everything in between can be chopped as you see fit
Scapes integrate well with other ingredients. Add them to fried rice. Finely dice a couple and mix into a vinaigrette. Add some scapes to a stir fry, to a pesto and about any kind of soup. Chop and sauté to add to your frittatas. I love them in scrambled eggs and cooked with fish. We finely chop some scapes and toss in the pan with some butter to fry fish or brush on baked fish.
If you have more scapes than you plan to use in the very near future you can freeze them. Just chop them whatever size you desire and seal them in a freezer bag for future use. You can dry/dehydrate them as well.
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Article Author Linda Carlson – Certified Nutrition & Wellness Counselor (retired) with 25+ years background.
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