Garlic Scapes

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My memory is failing me, but I think this is the third or fourth year I’ve grown garlic in my home garden.  It’s a low maintenance thing to grow; the clove is planted in the ground in the fall and it pops up in the spring.  Just like that.

Around about now, a curly “scape” grows from the middle of the plant. 

If allowed to grow, a garlic flower will emerge from the tip of the scape.  Don’t let that happen.  While I’m sure garlic flowers are perfectly lovely and beautiful, the plant’s energy will be diverted into the growth of the flower instead of the bulb.  I want a hale and hearty garlic bulb this winter, as big as my fist.  Plants only have so much life energy, though, so if it goes into growing a flower, the plant won’t have enough energy for the bulb.  The garlic bulb will be smaller as a result.

Tonight, I’m going to harvest my garlic scapes.  I’m just going to take some garden scissors and snip them off, easy as pesto.  Speaking of which, garlic scapes taste just like garlic and they make delicious pesto.  I don’t have a formal recipe.  Just cut off the flower tip, chop up the stems and throw them in a food chopper or processor with olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Process it to a desired consistency and then stir in some fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  It’s delicious on pasta, fresh steamed vegetables, or even crackers.

Don’t fear the scape.  Eat it.

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