Updated: Oct 30
The garlic plant's budding stems are a spring favourite, adding flavour to seasonal dishes.
It's late spring, and I'm excited about the garden cooking season with edible flower buds such as artichokes and garlic scapes shooting up! Yes, garlic scapes are the flower buds of hard-neck garlic plants. They are better harvested before flowering, which helps the plant concentrate its energies on clove growth. While the garlic cloves are not ready to be harvested until the plant's leaves die off in early summer, the scape can substitute traditional garlic. Chop the stems and you can smell that garlic already! I love their shapes and taste and also the fact that I am able to extend the use of my homegrown garlic all year long by freezing some cloves. With 30 garlic plants, I manage pretty well as I am always finishing my frozen cloves as the scapes come up. I pick them as needed, and by the time I’ve used them all, I am ready to start harvesting the cloves.
Cooking with garlic scapes • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020-21
GROWING & COOKING TIPS
I love growing my garlic for many reasons. It is a must-have ingredient all year long for flavouring so many recipes. It is good for boosting the immune system and is much better and healthier when organically cultivated (more about homegrown garlic here). The garlic scape is something I only discovered when I started to learn to grow garlic. They can be found at some farmers' markets in season. I use them in marinades, and this Tasty Grilled Chicken recipe is a favourite seasonal dish I always love to do with my homemade preserved lemons. They can be chopped in pesto, topped on bread with parmesan cheese, or added to roasted artichokes and mushrooms. They can be preserved frozen in ice cubes or pickled in brine. If you grow your own garlic, you are on the right track for some delicious and healthy garden cooking!
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