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Thursday
May312012

Garlic scapes

These curly things are a secondary product of hardneck garlic.  The garlic plant sends up this stalk in late spring; it starts out spiralling around, then straightens up and forms a little bulb-shaped head at the top.  Inside are many tiny "bulbils," which are like miniature garlic cloves.  When the head dries and shatters, the garlic's offspring get scattered like seeds--but, like all garlic, these are actually clones of the parent plant.

Scapes are in season for only a couple of weeks each spring.  To use them, cut off the pointy part at the top, which is tough.  Then you can chop and saute the scape like green onion (scapes cook faster), or leave them whole and steam them for a few minutes.  They have a mild garlicky taste, and the texture of asparagus or green beans.  We eat them--steamed or sauteed--as a main vegetable, not just a seasoning.  Try them sauteed and mixed with black beans and cooked kale, seasoned with cumin.