Friday, June 29

harvest: garlic scapes

Garlic scapes are flower stalks of hardneck garlic plants. They are (probably) the most seasonal produce you'll fall in love with. You're not likely to find these at the grocery stores. You may find them at the farmer's market for a few weeks, but be quick because each plant only produces one stalk and supplies could be limited. 

Garlic is the easiest plant you can grow. Timing is the only consideration. We planted our garlic in the community garden at the end of October by burying each clove, pointing up, 15cm (6") apart, 10cm (4") deep on well amended soil. They were then mulched with dried leaves, then forgotten about until it was time to harvest the scapes. I will ignore it again until it's time to harvest the garlic bulbs. It thrives on being left alone, really. We got our garlic "seeds" last year from The Garlic Festival hosted, and grown at, the Richmond Sharing Farm. The farmer advised that scapes should be harvested after it has looped around itself (see below) so the plant's energy is directed to growing a larger bulb, rather than producing a flower.

Scapes can be harvested after it has looped to ensure larger garlic bulbs.

This year, we harvested our garlic scapes in mid-June. Scapes have a delicious fresh, light garlic taste. It was turned into a pesto which was mixed into mashed potato and was also used as a spread for sandwiches. 

Have you ever had garlic scapes? If so, how did you eat it?

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