Garlic is one of the oldest known cultivated vegetables. There are references to it in the Bible and the Koran, and it’s mentioned as part of the diet on Sumerian cuneiform tablets dating to 2300 BCE. (Source: Eric Block’s Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science) It was used as both a funereal offering and embalming agent in ancient Egypt.
- Native to central Asia,eventually making its way to the Mediterranean, where it remains a central ingredient of the region’s heart-healthy, disease-fighting diet. It is believed to have made its way to North America via European settlers during colonial times and revered for its medicinal rather than culinary benefits until the early 20th century.
- For millennia, garlic has been used for its medicinal and healing properties in cultures worldwide.
- In certain cultures, it’s forbidden. The Jains (who practice very specific eating traditions) refrain from garlic because like other root vegetables, pulling the plant out of the ground effectively kills it.
- Devotees of Lord Krishna, abstain from garlic because it is considered a distraction to devotion practice
China is the world’s leading producer of garlic, almost all of what you see in big chain grocery stores is from China and they are responsible for more than three-fourths of the global supply in 2010. It’s unknown if scapes are being used domestically in China (most of the garlic they export is soft neck which does not produce scapes).
What To Do With Scapes
- Store in the refrigerator and use within a week, as the stalks will soften and lose their punch.
- Trim the end that was formerly attached to the bulb and discard the flowery blossom, (it can be stringy).
- You can also freeze for when you get a scapes hankering later this year (and you will).
- Dry them if you have a dehydrator.
- Add finely chopped garlic scapes (fresh or frozen) to bread dough or butter for a mild garlic flavor.
Slice thinly (about 1⁄4-inch pieces) and use like your other favorite allium friends.
- Saute and incorporate into fried rice, omelets, stir-fries or as a pizza topping.
- Pickle it
- You can make and freeze batches of pesto – to be tossed into pasta, spread onto sandwiches, lathered onto bruschetta and dipped with grilled vegetables. You can make it and freeze it without the cheese to use throughout the winter.
Taste-wise, garlic scapes are to garlic heads what scallions are to onions. They are garlicky but with a fresh “green” taste. They can be used in any dish where one usually uses garlic but wants a brighter, more complex garlic flavor with less bite than one would get from standard garlic cloves. You can cook and eat them like asparagus or green beans and you can barbeue them.
Garlic scapes work well in soups, salads, stews, salsas, dips, guacamole, omelets, frittatas, souffles, marinades, pesto, salad dressings, and stir-fry. They can also be pickled and added to homemade flavored vinegars. Scapes are also delightful when cooked into sauces.
My Scape Adventure 2013
We have been growing our own garlic for 4 years. I first experimented with the culinary attributes of scapes 5 years ago. We made pesto.
- 4 years ago, I pickled some to sell at the farm market – along with the pesto, they were an instant hit!
- 2 years ago we sold hummus made with scapes as well as the pickled scapes and the pesto. We also made and sold scape flat breads and scape quiche.
- This year, Unfortunately, I will NOT be selling the pesto, the hummus, flat breads or quiche (we don’t have access to an onsite refrigerator at the markets). I am, however, adding a wonderful scape jelly to the relish and pickled scapes, as well as powdered scapes and scape salts.
Today I got 4 green garbage bags full from the Midway Community Garden! I will be slicing, dicing and preparing Pickled Scapes, Scape Jelly, making and freezing Pesto, dehydrating and making scape salt and much much more. Stay tuned to this channel this week for all things scapes!!
Here are some pictures and links to some scape recipes that we have made in the past:
from 2 Sisters Garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
8 oz garlic scapes, trimmed
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 cup grilled haloumi cheese, diced
Heat the oil in a sauté pan and add sugar. Stir to caramelize the sugar for about 2-3 minutes and add the scapes. Cover and sauté over medium-high heat for no more than 3 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan to prevent scorching. After 3 minutes, add the tomatoes and wine. Stir, then cover and reduce heat to low; continue cooking 5-6 minutes or until scapes are tender but not soft. Season, then add the parsley and haloumi. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Haloumi Cheese Note: Haloumi cheese is a goat and/or sheep cheese made in Cyprus. It can be sliced and grilled or fried in a skillet, and it doesn’t melt. Other salty cheeses such as cheddar or aged chevre can be substituted.
This year, we received our scapes from the Midway Community Garden (thanks Mr D!).
To help support our community, We are donating a portion of sales from all of our scape products to the Midway Girl Guides and the Bridge Drop in Centre (whose commercial kitchen we are renting to help us move to the next level in selling our products).