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What's in the box: Take garlic scapes beyond pesto

Community Supported Agriculture is a socio-economic model that allows people to buy food direct from farmers. Customers pay for a yearly 'share' of the farm's crops, and collect a weekly harvest prepared by the farmer.

Amanda Gormley, marketing and member/owner service coordinator at the Syracuse Real Food Cooperative brings you this guide to CSA's most baffling offerings.

This week: Garlic Scapes.

My first plant was a spider plant. My grandmother reached into an overflowing hanging-basket, and snipped off the end of one of its spidery stems. Together, we filled a vase with water and placed the stem and its spindly green leaves into its new home. I took my grandmother's spider plant clone home with me, and cared for it tenderly.

Garlic and spider plants have something in common: they are both grown as clones. In the fall, garlic plants are harvested and dried. Bulbs are broken into cloves and replanted. The rest of the harvest is sent to market to be purchased where it's then chopped, grated, or roasted, and added to our favorite recipes.

In the spring garlic bulbs send up a loopy green shoot called a scape. Most garlic farmers trim the scape so that all of the growing energy can be concentrated in the bulb. This method ensures large cloves, and also offers us a wonderful spring treat; garlic scapes!

Garlic scapes have an oniony flavor with a moderate garlic taste. They are delicious steamed whole and served with butter (like asparagus), or chopped into one inch pieces and saut ed in olive oil.

For a twist on the conventional salad, saut one inch garlic scapes in a pan with one inch cubed day-old bread to make garlic-flavored home-made croutons. Warm garlic scapes and croutons are delicious over a cold, spring salad.

The natural fats in milk absorb garlic's pungent flavor, making dairy and garlic a natural pair. Butter and garlic scapes can be combined in a food processor for a creamy, garlic butter whip that can be spread over corn on the cob, used to make garlic bread, or eaten on fresh hard-crusted bread.

Goat Cheese Garlic Scape Spread

4 oz Chevre

1 - 2 whole garlic scapes

1 teaspoon olive oil

Blend all three ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Spread it on fresh bread, use it in a simple Panini, or as a dip for your favorite summer vegetables.

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