Garlic What ???
Down Memory Lane…
I still remember the first time I saw these beautiful wispy spirals that began to grow out from my garlic plants, planted the previous fall. I immediately did some research to learn more and was amazed (and excited!) about what I could do with them in the kitchen. I will also never forget the moment I harvested it and ate it raw…weooo…hello garlic!
“Garlic scapes are the “flower stalks” of hardneck garlic plants, although they do not produce flowers. These stalks start to appear a month or so after the first leaves. They are usually cut off of the plant, since leaving them on only diverts the plant’s strength away from forming a plump bulb.” (source: gardening.about.com)”
Three years ago, I found a recipe that I loved and stuck to it. I was making garlic scape pesto as often as I could. I also preserved some in the freezer by using a food processor for making pestos later on in the summer or fall. Scapes are typically available in the early parts of the season.
Although I do love the pungency of garlic cloves, it is a nice change to enjoy a more mild, almost sweet, flavor. This can be ideal for anyone looking for a more subtle flavor or who doesn’t enjoy (or cannot digest) raw garlic.
This year, I had so many scapes that it was time to get creative! My favorite recipes is still a scape and walnut and with veggies, crackers or a nice homemade bread. But I am also enjoying grilling the scapes on the BBQ, adding them to a bottle of extra virgin olive oil for a homemade infused garlic oil, as well as cooking with them; adding to hummus, soups or stir frys, instead of garlic cloves.
If you really love garlic, or feel your immune system getting low, you may even just bite directly into the scape!
For your Health….scapes can
- oxygenate blood
- Reduce inflammation
- Boosts immunity; high in antioxidant glutathione
- lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- garlic scapes, like cloves, and other alliums are known for their anti cancer qualities
- rich in sulfur; important for health and strength of hair, nails, skin and important for synthesis of amino acids.
Easy as 1,2, 3!
Once you learn the proportions for pesto, no need to use a recipe. The nuts, herbs and greens are always interchangeable. Walnuts, almonds and pistachios make a really creamy and rich pesto. For something lighter, try sunflower or pumpkin seeds. For the greens play with kale, spinach or arugula and try herbs like parsley, basil or cilantro.
Arugula, Walnut & Garlic Scape Pesto
2 c garlic scapes, cut into bits & the flower head discarded
1 – 2 cups arugula (spinach, kale, chard OR fresh herb of choice)
1/2 c walnuts, or nuts/seeds of choice
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese (optional, try adding nutritional yeast for a dairy free option)
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon (or more)
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t cayenne (optional)
Combine the garlic scapes, arugula, walnuts, cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times. Let the machine run and slowly pour in half the amount of oil along with the lemon juice, salt and cayenne. Slowly add the remaining oil until you’ve reached a good consistency. Store in a lidded jar in the fridge for a week or freeze in small jars.