At the Willoughby, Ohio, Farmers Market my farmer friend Maggie Fusco handed me a blue plastic grocery bag half full of garlic scapes. There must have been 100 of those long, circled flower stalks that must be trimmed from hardneck garlic to make certain energy goes back into the bulb. What was I supposed to do with so many scapes? Thank goodness she shared her weekly newsletter … it was full of ideas. — Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster
By Maggie Fusco, Wood Road Salad Farm, Madison, Ohio
You can chop ‘em and saute’ ‘em…..
You can pesto and puree’ ‘em…..
You can roast ‘em
You can toast ‘em
You can grill ‘em
You can swill ‘em?
You can eat ‘em on a boat
You can eat ‘em with a goat
You can use ‘em now or freeze for later
Either way it doesn’t matter
Get ‘em soon while they last
Like all things seasonal
They come and go so fast!
What am I rhyming about? Garlic Scapes of course!
Botanically speaking, the scape is any leafless flower stalk. The flower of the well-known Hosta plant falls into the classification of scape as do the flowers of many other plants. Each garlic produces one scape. If the scape is left on the garlic plant it will flower and produce seeds. (The wild garlic you tell me you have in your yard is spread this way.)
Cutting the scape from the garlic plant helps it focus more energy into making a bigger bulb underground (good for us) rather than making seed up top which is its real job in life. Turns out the garlic scape is not only edible – it has mild garlic/green flavor — it’s delightful to eat!
So, how can we use the scapes? Any way you already use garlic you can use scapes instead or treat them as would fresh young green beans.
Chop and sauté along with any dish or make a simple pesto by blending with olive oil for fresh use or to freeze for later. Braid them into wreaths and roast or grill them. Cut them into uniform lengths and make refrigerator pickles. (NOTE: I mix the pesto into mayonnaise and serve with burgers, amazing. – PW)
Scapes are most likely found in July at farmer’s markets in Northeast Ohio. They keep nicely wrapped in plastic for up to a month.
Maggie Fusco and Justin Kopczak own Wood Road Salad Farm in Madison Ohio. They have been happily married and growing great produce since 2002. They call their fields a “salad” farm because in the beginning they grew mostly lettuces and greens but then one crop led to another, and every season became a new adventure in growing and eating.