It is that time of year again! Just past mid June and the scapes are about ready for harvest. Scapes grow out of hardneck variety garlic plants. It will become the garlic flower, but the whole stalk above the leaves is edible and has great garlic flavor.
To harvest it, cut the center stalk just above the top set of leaves when the scape curls a full 360. It will have a single loop when ready. You certainly want to clip it before the flower opens as this will chemically change your garlic bulb. The plant will go into a flowering mode instead of storing energy in the garlic bulb. The bulb will begin to fuel rapid flower and seed development.
So cut those scapes and do something useful with them… Pesto!
Pine nuts (I never use these)
Scapes can be quite fibrous and getting long strings in your pesto really sucks. I cut the flower sac off the end and discard it (compost). I cut the remaining foot and a half stalk into 1 inch sections. No strings will be more than an inch long!
Place the scapes in a blender or food processor and pulse it a few times to shred your plenty bits. Add enough oil to liquefy the sauce with a small bit of lemon. Add about 1/2 the amount of oil you used worth of cheese.
I am deliberately vague on exact quantities because I make this according to how many scapes I harvest on any given day. Overall, I am looking for something similar to mayo or perhaps more oily, depending on the batch, my mood, whatever.
I put the pesto into ice trays to freeze it, then into vacuum bags for long term storage through to next year. Football season sees a lot of garlic scape pesto action.
This is great on crackers. Makes an oralgasmically good ham sandwich (unbelievably good). Is great served as a pasta sauce.
It has a very strong flavor, but mellows after being frozen a few months.
Commercial garlic is usually the softneck variety, which does not grow a scape. It may be hard to find scapes at your grocer, but farmers markets usually have them in June and early July.
The best part is… Scapes are a ‘by-product’ of growing hardneck varieties of garlic. They need to be removed from the plant or the bulbs do not turn out like one would expect, if there is anything in the bulb at all, if you let those flower sacs bloom.
This recipe turns those into something delicious that we can enjoy all winter while waiting for fresh scapes next year!
Today’s recipe used 32 scapes, quart of olive oil, 3 cups of sprinkle cheese. This is a thick and velvety version… Pasty for appetizers or sandwiches and can be served over pasta with additional olive oil added.
This dish is powerful. Garlic is loaded with nitrates and the green parts of many veggies contain more nitrates than other parts of the plant. Nitrosamines may be a concern of yours, but the vitamin C in the lemon juice blocks that conversion and the vitamin C acts as a catalyst to convert this into a strong vasodilator. It relaxes your veins and arteries and allows more blood to pump more freely… Lower blood pressure. After snacking on this, I feel smarter, more energetic, and with far less joint pain.
This dish is completely raw and requires no cooking. The ingredients have been studied and shown to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, enhance male performance, contain high levels of antioxidants and flavinoids. Pair this with red grapes (or red wine) and you can live forever! At least you would enjoy the snack… How about we start there and see where it goes.