Why you should grow garlic [reason:ONE]

5 Apr

garlic scape botanical drawingI ran out of home grown garlic two weeks ago.  It’s been terrible. I bought some grocery store crap, and threw half of it away in frustration.  I even forked out $14.99 a kilo at The Root Cellar for some Russian hardneck.  (That’s works out to an insane $1 per clove BTW).

Then I remembered I had a secret weapon stashed away in my freezer – garlic scape pesto.

Garlic scapes are basically the flower part of the garlic bulb (kind like the tulip).  Scapes are harvested to stop sending energy into the flower production, and back into the bulb.  So they’re actually just a by-product.  Lucky for us, they also taste delicious.  Wikipedia can tell you more.

They’re very recognizable in the garden by their pig-tail curls.  In the shops, they are usually accompanied by an equally cute price.  Especially at organic markets.  If you need to buy some, then find a real farmers market (not the hipster kind, they’ll charge you double), or head to China Town where they sell them at a reasonable price.


garlic Scape pestoGARLIC SCAPE PESTO

Rinse and dry freshly cut scapes.
Puree along with some olive oil in whatever machine you prefer.
Use enough so that you’re left with a paste strong enough to stick to a spoon held upside-down.
Portion into small freezer containers or cubes (probably not the same container you make ice in).
Label and freeze for up to 9 months.

TO USE: Defrost in the fridge and use a teaspoonful as needed where you might otherwise use garlic or pesto.  As with a pesto, use in applications that don’t involve direct heat to avoid burning or loosing the bright green color.


I have a couple dozen bulbs growing in the back yard.  I’m REALLY looking forward to harvesting the scapes later this spring. I’ll share some recipes.  If your really smart, you’re already growing garlic.  If you might have overlooked this in your extremely busy life; I understand completely.  But if there is only one thing you plant in a garden, it should be garlic in the Fall.   Don’t worry, I’ll remind you again.  And in the meantime, I’ll see how many people I can convince with at least five more good reasons to grow garlic.

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