The garlic scape season has just passed, so I apologize for the late post. Planning a vacation and then spending a week away put me behind on a lot of things. But I’ll remind you in October to plant your own garlic. Growing garlic is so easy and, if you do it right, you can enjoy it year after year without having to plant it again. I learned this from a farmer at a farmers market in Connecticut many, many moons ago. This is one of the great reasons to frequent your local farmer’s markets – you can glean great advice on growing things you may not know how to grow.
To start your own garlic patch, the best time to plant it is in mid-October. Find a bulb or more of the largest garlic cloves you can find and separate the cloves, leaving the skin on. In well-tilled soil, in a sunny and well-drained place, plant the cloves pointed-end up about 2 inches deep and cover with loose soil.
Come spring, little green tops will peek through the soil and your garlic is growing. You can use the green tops chopped in the same way you would chives or spring onions.
Come late May to June, your garlic will start to produce a seed bulb at the top of the green. The very young seed bulb is called the scape and you’ll find them now at many farmers markets. To harvest them, simply cut off the stem about 6 inches below the young seed bulb.
Cutting the seed bulb off puts more energy back into the growth of the bulb that’s forming underneath the ground. But always make sure you leave a few, to go to seed, so you won’t have to plant again come fall.
To harvest the garlic, I was taught that when the tops start to turn brown and fall down, that’s the time to dig it up. With a trowel, make a wide circle around the bulb and gently dig it up. You can use it fresh – which is really nice – or let it dry for a few weeks and use it that way.
To cook garlic scape, I prefer mine pretty simple. Toss them around with a little olive oil and salt in a pan or, easier yet, lay a small bunch on a large piece of aluminum foil, drizzle a little olive oil over them, sprinkle with salt, wrap and seal the foil around them, then toss them on the grill for about 10 minutes.
We love garlic, so this is a no-brainer for us; we love the scape. It has a very mild garlic flavor and it’s very, very good for you.