by ethicalDeal guest blogger Genevieve Blanchet
(photo by Genevieve Blanchet)
Garlic scapes are the flower of the garlic plant. These curly, deep‐green stalks are the shoots that grow from garlic bulbs. They appear about a month before the actual garlic bulb, usually between mid‐June and mid‐July. Farmers cut them off to encourage the growth of the bulb.
Garlic scapes are prized in many parts of the world where garlic is grown, here you can find them at farmers’ markets and specialty grocery stores.
Garlic scapes are also a member of the lily family, which includes onions, chives, shallots and leeks. They are not only delicious but also have healthful properties similar to garlic cloves. Research has shown that the bioactive molecules, DAS and DADS (associated with cancer risk reduction) are also present in garlic flowers, but less concentrated than in the garlic cloves. In traditional Chinese medicine, they are said to be warming and also help regulate the flow of chi (energy) in the body. They also stimulate appetite and tonify the stomach and liver.
Things to do with garlic scapes
You can use garlic scapes anywhere you would use garlic. Much milder than regular garlic, raw scapes are easier to digest and don’t leave you with garlicky breath. They’re not as pungent as garlic cloves and are an interesting alternative when you want to add a delicate flavour to food.
To prepare them, trim the roots and chop the entire scape including the flower. When carefully handpicked and quickly refrigerated, these flowers will keep for up to two months in a sealed plastic bag.
Here are some tasty ideas for making the most of your garlic scapes:
1.) Add them to dressings: Chop the scapes finely and mix them in your favorite dressing to enhance flavour.
2.) Grill them on the BBQ: Toss whole scapes in olive oil with salt and pepper, add them to a hot grill and cook for a few minutes until soft.
3.) Mix into a stir‐fry or with eggs: Cut them in one inch long pieces and add them to scrambled eggs, frittata or a stir‐fry.
4.) Add to creamy dips: In a food processor, ground 1 cup cooked white beans and a hand full of chopped scapes with a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
5.) They also make a fabulous pesto: Replace the basil with garlic scapes in your favorite pesto recipe.
6.) On bread: On a piece of toasted baguette, add butter and thinly sliced raw scapes and sprinkle with crunchy sea salt.
7.) Try this aioli as a wonderful sauce or dip for veggies, grilled meat or fish:
1/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes
1 tso coarse, unrefined sea salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, at room temperature
1 large egg or 2 large egg yolks, left at room temperature for 30 minutes
Combine scapes, salt and 2 tablespoons oil in a blender at high speed until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Add egg yolks and, with motor running very slowly, add remaining oil in a thin, steady stream, blending until aioli is thick. This will take about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
The aioli can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.
About the author:
Geneviève Blanchet is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. She blends Asian tradition and modern western nutritional science with the wisdom of healing herbs. She is passionate about eating fresh, seasonal and nutrient-rich food and would like to share what she’s learned with you. www.lepetitchou.ca.
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