GARLIC SCAPES are the seed-head stalks that grows from the center of the garlic plant…..garlic scapes quite delicious!
The Garlic Bulb:
These bulbs are made up of individual cloves that are an aromatic and flavorful root crop that is cherished worldwide. An interesting fact about the garlic bulb is that it can reproduce from planting the individual cloves or planting the individual seeds that are produced from the flower heads. Garlic cloves are typically planted in the fall along with other flowering bulbs such as Tulips, Iris and Daffodils. Even though fall planting is the suggested time, I have had good success with planting these cloves in the spring. We live at 7000 feet so our spring weather is cold, wet and prolonged.
Spring planting has proven to be successful for us.
Introduction to Scapes:
Scapes are a lesser known early spring treat. They are the flowering stalk that grows out of the middle of the plant. These stalks are what support the seed heads of the garlic plant. These plants can be enjoyed not only as mature garlic cloves but also as early spring and summer treats!
Related Quote from Mulch for Garden Success:
“Mulch makes the gardening adventure so much easier as it helps retain soil moisture and suppresses weeds. Plus, spreading wood chips in rows and walkways. It is amazing to see the difference in the soil moisture content from where there are wood chips as opposed to the walkways without wood chips. If you have enough wood chips then spread some in the walkways to keep them from becoming muddy. This makes for nice pathways.”
Flower and Seed Heads:
As the garlic begins to grow, it first sends out the roots from the base of the individual cloves. The cloves will then send up the leaves of the plant. These leaves are a somewhat thick but flattened type of leaf. You will then notice a heavier round stalk-like growth coming from the middle of the plant.
This round stalk is the beginning of the flower head. This flowering stalk will shoot up and grow beyond the normal leaves. It is quite distinctive looking. But the most distinctive feature will be the complete 360° circle they make. Be watching for this circular growth as documented in the photo above as this is also an indicator that the bulbs will be ready to harvest in one to two months.
Related Post: Mulching for Garden Success
Once you see these circular scapes, you can begin harvesting this flower stalks.
Please Note: it is actually very important to harvest these stalks. The main reason to harvest them is to force the energy of the growing garlic plant into the bulb development and not into flower and seed production.
The flowering aspect of any plant requires a lot of plant energy. Seed production also requires energy. The whole idea of removing these stalks is to allow the plant to put this energy into bulb development. Plus, there is the wonderful tasty side bonus……Read On……
Make sure to look at: Best of Original Homesteading
Side Bonus of Harvesting Scapes:
The wonderful side bonus of harvesting these scapes is that they are delicious! They are the prelude of what is to come with a subtle flavor which is prefect for your first spring garden feasts! Such a wonderful way to enjoy your garden bounty while at the same time encouraging a healthy main crop.
How to Use in Cooking:
Garlic Scapes are a delicate addition to any sauted dish. After harvesting your scapes, wash and slice. Saute in avocado oil or butter to add a hint of garlic flavor. Scapes are less pungent than the garlic from a clove. They can also be added to any type of dish. Plus, they are prefect when lightly stemmed and added to a fresh garden salad or stemmed and eaten like asparagus.
Scapes are super easy to freeze! Simply pick, rinse, chop and freeze…..make sure to spread the chopped scapes evenly on a baking sheet or cookie sheet so you can freeze them individually. After spreading them evenly on your cookie sheet, just pop them in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours. Remove from freezer and quickly put in freezer bags, plastic freezer containers or glass jars and label.
Place immediately back into the freezer. By freezing the scapes individually, they are super easy to take out just what you need at the time without having to thaw an entire batch. Grab a tablespoon or a handful for any recipe calling for garlic!!! Perfect for soups, stews, stir fry, casseroles, dips, etc…….very convenient and handy!!!