We planted a lot of garlic last fall. I’m not sure what got into me, but we ended up devoting a big section of our garden to a garlic patch that will produce over 100 bulbs.
Garlic is a great addition to any home garden. It’s incredibly easy to grow, and once you have a good crop going, you can easily to save your best cloves for replanting next year. Garlic requires almost no water or maintenance once planted. Once harvested, the bulbs can stay fresh for months if they are properly cured and stored.
Our garlic will be ready to harvest soon, once 50% of the leaves have died down to a golden colour. Until then, we are enjoying the delicacy of fresh garlic scapes. Along with kale buds, scapes are a fresh delicacy known almost exclusively to gardeners and those who frequent farmers markets, a treat that appears only for a short time each year. Scapes (also known as garlic whistles) are the flower stalks of garlic. They won’t actually open into flowers, but gardening lore says that it’s best to remove the scapes in order to encourage the plant to put more energy into its bulb. Keep in mind that garlic comes in two major types, hardneck and softneck, and that only hardneck garlic produces scapes. Some varieties, like Russian garlic, produce juicier scapes than others.
Garlic scapes have a milder flavour than actual garlic cloves, with a hint of something fresh and green underneath. They can be used in any recipes that calls for garlic, but they really shine in the form of pesto. If you have lots of basil or even arugula growing right now, try substituting it for some of the garlic scapes. This recipe freezes well for a taste of summer at any time of year.
Although this recipe is vegan, you can definitely add a generous helping of parmesan cheese (if freezing, it’s best to leave the cheese out and add it when serving). Try tossing this pesto with pasta, sliced sugar snap peas and lemon zest for a unique and refreshing meal.
- 1 C garlic scapes, washed and chopped into small pieces
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ C Olive oil
- ¼ C Walnuts
- Pinch of salt
- Simply combine the ingredients in a food processor, blend until combined, and enjoy!