Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Garlic scapes are up, time to harvest

Garlic scapes, the thick stem growing out of hard neck varieties, have been spotted in several community garden plots. I like to write about them to a) let you know they are up, b) remind you to remove them and why and c) what to do with them. In a word - delicious.

Garlic scapes are that curly "whip" that grows up the stem of hardneck garlic. Softneck garlic does not have this whip, and I recently learned that most commercial garlic found in the grocery store is softneck precisely because growers don't have to deal with the scape.

"Deal with?" you ask. If the scape is not removed, the plant will put lots of energy into developing a flower and seed pod, thus leaving less energy for the underground crown which is what we harvest in July. Removing the scape not only helps develop a larger crown of garlic, it's also tasty.

This year I planted more than 100 cloves, which means I have that many scapes to harvest.
Wait until the scapes curl. Harvesting them too early and they'll grow back.

What to do with them:
1) use them as you'd use garlic in any food preparation
2) chop up into stir frys
3) they make a spicy and crunchy addition to salads