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Garlic scapes

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Dale Williams

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Garlic scapes

by Dale Williams » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:32 pm

So yesterday at farmers market they had the most beautiful garlic scapes I've ever seen (for a whopping $2 per box-one of those probably 4X4X3 inch cardboard boxes, with of course curly part of scapes way outside box- I'd guess 20 scapes, each with buds about size of marbles, and 8-10 inches of "stalk" curling above. Tonight I used about half- some in a white bean dip, some with clams in a pasta sauce. Any great ideas for rest?
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Christina Georgina

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Re: Garlic scapes

by Christina Georgina » Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:30 pm

Dale, they were 5 scapes/1.00 here at the farmers market this weekend. I make a pesto and freeze the extra. I use it as a sauce on home made gnocchi or pasta. It is so delicious that I use it for crostini. When very tender, they are great in an omlet . I don't have enough room to plant garlic so I treasure the few a friend gives me.
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Garlic scapes

by Mark Lipton » Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:53 pm

That's funny, Dale. We just used up the last of the scapes that we got from our CSA. We use them almost interchangeably with garlic in cooking. In our experience, they're quite strongly flavored.

Mark Lipton
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Karen/NoCA

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Re: Garlic scapes

by Karen/NoCA » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:13 pm

I planted a large pot full of garlic last year, and just harvested it a few weeks ago. I kept waiting for the scapes, went out and looked everyday for those babies....none ever came up. A conversation with the garlic lady at the Farmer's Market enlightened me that not all garlic produces scapes, and I grew one of those!
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Mark Willstatter

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Re: Garlic scapes

by Mark Willstatter » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:14 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:I kept waiting for the scapes, went out and looked everyday for those babies....none ever came up. A conversation with the garlic lady at the Farmer's Market enlightened me that not all garlic produces scapes, and I grew one of those!


Karen, I read in the other garlic thread that you planted "Christopher Ranch" garlic. What generally gets grown in Gilroy, like almost all garlic available in supermarkets," is of one softneck variety or another. Its only means of reproduction is via cloves getting stuck in the ground. As you found, softneck varieties rarely produce scapes. Generally softneck varieties have a ring of large gloves surrounding some smaller, sometimes splintery ones in the middle.

What you generally find at farmers markets are hardneck varieties. There are myriad varieties and are the sort garlic freaks seek out. The name "hardneck" comes from the hard, woody stem that runs down the middle of the head. Often there are no small inner cloves, just a ring of large cloves arranged around the neck. In addition to the clove-planting method, hardneck varieties also can (but rarely are allowed to) reproduce by producing the scape, which includes a thickened part called a "bulbil", with what amounts to seed inside. That hard core running though the head is the lower part of what gets called a scape.

Softneck varieties often keep better, which is one reason they're favored in supermarkets. It's also braidable, which is impossible with the hardnecks. Bottom line, if you want scapes, you need to be growing hardneck garlic. Local nurseries may have seed stock during the fall planting season; there are also plenty of seed garlic sources online. Or just buy something you like from the farmer's market and plant that.

I hope that helps!
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Karen/NoCA

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Re: Garlic scapes

by Karen/NoCA » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:34 pm

Mark, thanks, very informative. We have a lady at the Farmer's Market that everyone calls "the garlic lady" because she grows many varieties of garlic, mostly hardneck. I really have not tried but one or two. They are smaller than the Christopher Ranch, which I love, but know I should branch out and try others. I will do that this Saturday. When I find one I love, I will plant it this fall. Having my own scapes would be fun.

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