The Land of Milk and Honey

Cooking with Honey

by Laurie Dotson 
Garlic in the garden

Garlic in the garden

Sorry, No honey cooking today!  How about garlic.

For years, We had this strange plant growing in our garden.  At the time, I loved flower gardening. I had multiple large gardens in my yards.  I would add any new or throw away perennials people would give me.  And If I didn’t have room, I would make a new garden.  Big, Beautiful flower gardens. I had an oasis.

Every Spring and early summer, I would notice this plant. A hardy plant, that would grow a spiked shoot and then over night it would curl.  When it flowered, it has tiny little flowers and then it would grow these bulbs off the end.  Later the bulbs would drop and the next year I had more plants.  I loved the shape and the color. I would use them in flower arrangements and potted arrangements.  Still never knew exactly what I had.  Until one day, when I dig up a huge mound of them.     I eat everything.     So I took a deep swiff of it and then bit into it! Yeowzers! I had garlic! GARLIC!  All these years, I had Garlic. I love Garlic.  Garlic is a staple in my kitchen. It goes in everything I cook.  I could grow these, along with other herbs and make food for the family. But Vegetable gardening ? Never a consideration…until!

After a quick internet search on garlic. I learned how to care and grow garlic cloves.  I now have 200 garlic plants and that is where the garlic scapes come from.  What do you do with all your scapes??  Well we saute’ them with veggies, I roast them with meat, I cut them ups and add them to a salad… or I make this Garlic Scape Pesto is a great way to use something we get a whole heck of a lot of this time of year. When you grow two hundred heads of garlic, guess how many garlic scapes you get? That is correct – you get two hundred garlic scapes. That’s a lot.

Scapes are important to the garlic – it’s how more garlic plants happen. There are little seeds in the bigger round part, and if you leave the scapes in place, they would eventually burst open, scattering ripe seeds around, which will germinate and make more garlic plants. Unfortunately, in so doing, they draw nutrients away from the growing of the bulb they are on – and the bulbs are what is important to us. So, they all have to be cut off. And since we can’t stand to waste anything, we are working on finding ways to use them. They have great taste and very tender and the texture fabulous.  Get them early!

I cut a five gallon bucket full of these Garlic Scapes

I cut a five gallon bucket full of these Garlic Scapes

Fortunately, they are really wonderful in pesto, because we get all the great flavor and they get completely ground up, so texture isn’t an issue. And we LOVE pesto. I make as much of it as I can every summer and freeze it in ice cube trays to enjoy through the winter. Once the pesto is frozen solid, you can just pop the cubes out of the tray and store them in ziplock bags or other containers. You do want to have some trays dedicated solely to pesto and like substances though – the ice cube trays will absorb the flavor and pesto flavored iced tea is surprisingly un-tasty.

Garlic Pesto Ingerdents

Garlic Pesto Ingerdents

You will likely be able to find garlic scapes at your local Farmer’s Market this time of year, or maybe even in your CSA box. If you know someone who grows garlic, they might have some to share – they are worth looking for!

Garlic Scape Pesto

Serves: 1 & ½ cups
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chopped garlic scapes
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup lightly toasted pine nuts or almonds
  • ½ cup fresh basil, packed tightly – then roughly chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup good quality olive oil
Instructions
  1. Add everything but the oil to the bowl of a food processor
  2. Process until everything is finely chopped and almost a paste.
  3. Leave the processor running and stream in oil
  4. It will only take a moment of two for the mixture to emulsify – turn off processor.
  5. Leave at room temperature for an hour or so to develop flavors- keep plastic wrap pressed to top surface to keep the top from turning brown.
  6. Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, or can be frozen.

garlic scape pestoGarlic Scape Pesto is wonderful anywhere that you would use ordinary pesto – on vegetables, pasta, in sandwiches, topping a bowl of soup – just about anything, really. Experiment to find how you like to use it most!  I will be taking this on a camping trip with friends and using this in my dinner preparations.

Enjoy your Garden and Farm, and all it has to offer!

Laurie

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