Good news! Garlic that was planted this past November or December, might be ready to harvest! Our Executive Director, Ben, wrote a great blog post on how to harvest your garlic, which can be read HERE.
If you find that your garlic isn’t quite ready to harvest yet, fear not! You may have noticed a curly stem growing out of the center of your hard-neck varieties. These fun little whirly-dos are called garlic scapes and they are edible! They have a very strong garlicky flavor and can be used as a substitute for any recipe that calls for garlic cloves.
By harvesting the scape early, you’re doing your garlic bulb a real solid. The plant puts a lot of energy into producing the scape, but when it’s harvested, you’re letting the plant know it can use that energy to beef up your garlic bulb instead, which is still quietly growing underground.
To harvest these tasty little morsels, use garden shears or scissors and cut them at the base where they are growing from the plant.
You can store them a few different ways. If you have more than you’ll eat now, you might consider the freezing option. Simply cut the scapes into desired lengths and blanch for about 30 seconds. Pat dry and store in freezer safe bag or other container for up to 6 months.
To store in the refrigerator, simply cut into desired length and put them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. If you’re feeling fancy, display them like flowers in a jar of water in your classroom for 3-4 days changing the water daily.
As mentioned above, garlic scapes can be used in just about any recipe that calls for garlic cloves. Salsas, stir fries, pasta sauces, garlic bread, etc. One of my favorites though, is garlic scape pesto. Simple, delicious, and a great way to get kids to each a lot of veggies all at once! It goes great on fish, chicken, eggs, pasta, or even on its own as a dip. Enjoy!
Garlic Scape Pesto
¼ cup garlic scapes
2 cups greens of choice (kale, spinach, mustard greens, radish tops, carrot tops, chard)
1 cup cilantro
½ cup nuts or seeds of choice (pumpkin, sunflower, pecan, pistachio, cashew)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
1. Combine garlic scapes, leafy ingredients, and olive oil in a processor or blender and pulse until smooth
2. Scrape down the sides as needed.
3. Add nuts/seeds of choice and pulse/blend until smooth
4. Add additional olive oil to achieve desired consistency.
5. Season to taste with salt.