Stepping into the crisp freshness of the walk-in cooler on a warm June day at Indian Head Farm, one is momentarily startled by the long, curly, green tendrils reaching out from their buckets in the back corner, as if to take over everything within sight. These tasty vegetables are garlic scapes. Getting to know them better, one begins to see their graceful beauty and appreciate their culinary contribution to many dishes, with a milder garlic flavor and crisper texture than the bulb forming at the other end of the plant.
Garlic scapes are essentially the flower stems of the garlic plant that form in late spring. A garlic bud forms on the scape and, if left to mature, produces a small head of garlic. The garlic scape is usually cut before the small head grows, in order to direct the energy of the plant into forming a larger bulb of garlic underground to be harvested later. Garlic scapes begin as straight stems, but they curl into their characteristic shape as they mature.
Several years back, Indian Head Farm was fortunate in receiving a large and varied collection of garlic from Berlin neighbors, Jack and Paula, to grow at the farm. As a result, we continue to offer our customers eleven different varieties of garlic, with names like Music, Killarney Red, German Porcelain and Rosewood, each with its own unique flavor and properties. Although the garlic scapes will be available at the farm stand only a short time longer, we can look forward to the garlic bulbs that will be harvested in late July and early August.
Please visit our Kitchen Webpage for a recipe and other ideas for use.