Garlic Scapes

Tis the season for scapes and guess what? I have none of my own to enjoy. Luckily, I have a wonderful mother-in-law who also gardens and has offered to share her scapes with me. We moved to a new home where our gardens were built from scratch recently (some might say too recently considering how late in the growing season it is already but I digress) and needless to say, my garlic never made it into the ground this past fall.

Today I want to talk about Garlic Scapes. For those of you who don’t know what Garlic Scapes are, I’ll briefly explain. Garlic Scapes are the slim, twirly, flowering stems that grow from mature hardneck garlic plants. Trimming them from the plant will ensure energy will be directing into creating a larger bulb. It will also give you a super tasty culinary trick up your sleeve.

I’ve always loved the texture of green onion in cooked meals but green onion is not garlic. That garlic flavor is so lovely and pungent and unmatched by onion. Garlic scapes have the flavoring of garlic while having the texture of a chive or green onion. Raw or cooked they are just splendid!! They are just recently starting to make their way into popularity by well known chefs and foodies, and alike.

My favorite way to enjoy Garlic Scapes is pickled and added as a garnish in a bloody mary, a treat a fellow garden guardian shared with me years ago. And my friends, it was revelatory! One of those recipes that you hold on to and pass down for generations…I am now instantly craving that briney goodness just from writing about it! I’m going to share it with you here now.

And if any of my readers have scapes to share, I will happily trade you for this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb garlic scapes (approx 2-3 bunches)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed 
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ cups cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon pickling or kosher salt
  • *add 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flake per pint of pickles if you’d like to spice it up!

Step One: Cut off the blossom end as well as the hard end from the scape. Some people choose to cut the scapes to a length that will fit into the container but I prefer to leave them curly. Coil each scape and insert it into the pickle jar. When you have filled the jar to about 1/4  inch from the top, add the spices to each pint jar and set aside.

Step Two: Bring the cider vinegar, water, and salt to a boil, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Pour the brine over the top of the jarred scapes. Use a sterile knife or spoon to push scapes down into the jar. Wipe the jar clean, then tighten the lid into place.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. The jars should be at room temperature before refrigeration. 

Step Three: The hard part. I know you want to eat these right now. Your kitchen probably smells amazing but if you can bear to wait the 2-3 weeks for your pickles to cure, I promise it will be worth it! These pickles will last for several weeks in the refrigerator after opened.

Finally, open that sucker up and pop a pickle in your mouth! SO GOOD RIGHT?! Toss a few into a bloodymary and now you’re living your best life.

*These images were captured and shared by Chris at Country Roots Gardening

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