Garlic scapes rise just before summer solstice here in Zone 5, the harbinger of high summer and abundance yet to come, and one of our favorite delicacies of all time.
Scapes only form on hardneck varieties. In fact, the scape is the extention of the 'hard neck' at the center of each bulb. Softneck varieties lack such a hard 'scape,' making them ideal for braiding. If you want scapes on your table, plant hardneck varieties, Friends! We grow about 8,000 heads of garlic each season, both hardneck and softneck, so we revel in the ocean of scapes we harvest each June.
Garlic scapes emerge one month before bulbs mature, so once they emerge we make sure we're ready for harvest. We clean out the barn where we cure our bulbs, make sure our fans are working and get enough twine and tags so we can hang them immediately. Once one-third to one-half of a garlic's leaves are brown and drying down, it's bulb is ready to lift gently with a digging fork to eat fresh or cure for the seasons ahead.
Counter-intuitively, the science is ambiguous as to whether removing the scapes, in fact, increase ultimate bulb size. Regardless, we harvest each one simply because they're delicious. We prefer the young, tender scapes but we'll eat the large, fibrous and spiraling scapes if we miss them young.
Without further ado, here are
Friends, I've made you a sweet little ebook with our go-to recipes for garlic scape pesto, both lacto-fermented and vinegar scape pickles and many more ways we savor our scapes throughout the seasons.
Garlic scapes are one of our favorite foods to grow, harvest and savor. I'd love to hear your favorite ways to enjoy them, as well! Don't be shy :)
Sow Seeds & Sing Songs (and pickle things),
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