Saturday, August 4, 2007

Garlic Scapes

A relative newcomer to the American produce world, the garlic scape is a strange and striking thing indeed. When hardneck garlic* starts to grow, thin shoots make their way out of the garlic bulb. These shoots- the garlic scapes- are edible while tender and still-curled.

If allowed to grow and straighten out, they will harden, turn garlic-skin-white, flower, and slow the growth of the garlic plant. Farmers would snap them off, to direct the garlic's energy back to the bulb, and toss them straight on to the compost pile. Luckily for us, someone discovered that they're not just edible, but delicious, too!

This year, we encountered garlic scapes as part of our farm share, and I learned that you can use them as you would chives, spring onions, or garlic cloves. Chopped or minced, raw or briefly cooked, they add a nice texture and subtle, green, garlic undercurrent without overpowering other flavours.

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