Saturday, June 30, 2012

Garlic Scapes Galore! ask....What ARE those funny little curlique green things?  Like something out of a veggie Dr. Seuss book. 
Garlic scapes!  Oh yes, garlic scapes! 
Garlic scapes (aka garlic snaps, garlic spears, garlic whistles), are the "seed" scape of a hardneck garlic.  I say "seed" scape in quotations because interesting enough garlic doesn't actually make true seed.  As in seed that you could cross with another garlic and make a new garlic.  No the "seed" scape of a hard-neck garlic, if you let it mature, will make tiny tiny little "bulbils."  Or essentially mini garlic cloves that if planted, will grow and make a bigger garlic clove the next year.  And then if you plant THAT, will make more of a regular size garlic bulb the following year.  Essentially, garlic only reproduces itself by cloning itself.  The ability to set "seed" was bred out of garlic 100s and 100s of years ago, and is actually something scientists are now trying to recreate as the problem with not having true seed is that it makes garlic more susceptible to disease wiping out entire lines, as there is no ability to breed resistance through crossing different varieties with garlic only clones itself. 
Anyways, I digress.  (Garlic is like that for me....).  Because we want to talk about garlic SCAPES today.  Why?  Because they are simply fan-freaking-tastic.
When people ask what they are like I always say, picture asparagus texture but garlicky flavor.  And you can pretty much do all the things you do with asparagus with garlic.  You can braise them.  You can grill them.  You can roast them.  You can pickle them (see below for Oystercatcher's awesome pickled garlic scapes recipe!).
You can also do things with garlic scapes you don't do with asparagus - like you can chop it up into a salad, you can season with it in place of garlic (figure it will be a bit milder), you can make garlic scape pesto! (yum!). 
Farmer Georgie muses "Ahem, yes., garlic scapes, garlic scapes, garlic scapes and so on...."
You can also do things like... smoke them.  SUPER trendy in the avant-garde organic farming world.  It is only properly done with VERY dirty hands, otherwise, the scape just doesn't taste right.  (just kidding people!). 

Wynter teething on garlic scapes.  She is 6 now and says she doesn't like garlic.  Yeah, right....
The other thing you can do with garlic scapes, and I think there might really be something to this one, is use them for teething rings!  Both my daughters had quite a fondness for garlic scape teething rings in their younger years.  And, with the proven anti-bacterial abilities of garlic, I think this one has real merit!

So, as you can see here.  The possibilities with garlic scapes are, well, endless!  And, lucky for you...we have all the garlic scapes you could possibly need.   Oh, gosh, about 300 or 400 lbs of them we would guess.  One scape, for every one of the approximately 30,000 hardneck garlic plants we planted.  Phew. 
So this weekend at market - pick up your garlic scapes!  They will be GREAT grilled with your 4th of July barbequing, btw....(garlic scapes on dogs, garlic scapes with steak, garlic scapes and smores....well maybe not that last one...).
And of course, we have plenty more veggies to go with the scapes, including....
From Willowood Farm:
* Mesclun bags
* Arugula bags
* Spinach bags
* Pea vine bags
* Head Lettuce (leaf types and super cute mini romaines! Bayview only)
* Fresh garlic (still curing so on the stalk)
* True new potatoes, mixed "red, white and blue" colors. (SO SO SO GOOD. OMG!)
* Japanese Salad "Hakurei" Turnips
* Carrots
* Fava Beans
* Walla Walla onions w/ greens
* Kale
* Chard
* Barn Floor Mix dry beans
* Rhubarb (Bayview only)
* Braising Greens bags (bayview only)
 Our friends from Prairie Bottom Farm are adding:
* Herbs
* Raab
For Bayview only Mikey from Whidbey Green Goods is bringing broccoli, peas, beets and some other goodies.  Blake over at Ebb Tide Farm is bringing some cilantro and other things as well.
So come see us at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm

Oystercatcher’s Quick Pickled Garlic Scapes
Courtesy of Joe Scott, Chef at Oystercatcher in Coupeville, WA
·      Garlic scapes, 1 lb, chopped into 1 inch pieces, or left whole with ends trimmed. (If left whole the scapes should be left to pickle for a week before use).
·      Champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
·      Rice Vinegar
·      Dash of salt
·      Sugar to taste
·      Pinch of whole fennel seed
You will need equal parts of the vinegar, how much depends on how much you are going to pickle.  Chop (or trim) scapes and pack clean mason jars.  Boil equal parts of both vinegars, add sugar and salt to taste.  Sugar should balance the acidity of the vinegar.  How sweet – versus tart – you make it is a personal preference depending on how you like your pickles.  When boiling, pour over scapes.  Add a pinch of whole fennel seed.  Seal lid.  These pickles are ready in 4 hours.  If you prefer to keep the scape whole (which gives you a very cool shape on a plate), you should plan to let the pickles sit for at least a week (or more) so they absorb the pickling juices.  By chopping the scapes you provide more surface area to absorb the pickling juices quickly.

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