Garlic Scapes in June

Even though it doesn’t feel like it, it is the middle of June.  It’s been wet and gloomy and soggy, but it’s June.  Most people think of berries and asparagus this month.  I do too, but in my little world. I stalk my garlic (which was planted in Fall) for the “scape”.

First, a bit about garlic:

There are 2 varieties.  “Softneck Garlic” is the variety you see most at the grocery store.  This is the type that is sometimes braided.  Most of it in the grocery comes from China (and tastes like soap).  Softneck Garlic does not put up a flower, and it has many little cloves.

“Hardneck Garlic” is a heartier variety.  It has larger cloves, and it tastes like garlic.  In June, Hardneck garlic puts up a stalk that curls on the top.  This is called a “scape”.  If left to it’s own devices it would keep growing, and a flower would form on top.  That flower would then turn to a seed head and explode little tiny garlic seeds. They look like mini garlic cloves.  But we don’t let it get that far for a few reasons.

If you leave the scapes on, they will rob the developing clove underground of energy to grow.  Then there is the foodie part.  People search out farmer’s markets and farm stands for them. Only when they are still curved.  When they straighten out the stalk gets too fibrous.

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The Scape is the hook looking thing shooting up the middle

Then you can do zillions of things with them.  They taste like a mild green garlicy goodness.  I chop them in the food processor, put them in those ice cube trays with lids and freeze them.  Then pop one in soup, stew, red sauce or whatever.  You can also make pesto out of them.  Roast them in the oven with a bit of olive oil for a side veg.  I’ve food processed them and mixed them in with hummus too.

Just remember, they are truly seasonal, get them while you can!  Mine are in my garden, but you can find them maybe at Weggie’s, and I know Singer Farms has them at some point in the season.

Now we wait til August for the garlic harvest!  -JAP-

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