Garlic is so fun to grow. In this climate, hardneck garlic produces scapes from mid-June until mid-July. These are the curly, snake- or swan-like stems that come up from the middle of the garlic plant. We want to remove them so that the garlic bulb can focus its energy on growing bigger.
Usually, I make rustic pesto with scapes from our garden, sautee them with the last of the season’s asparagus, or put them in kimchi. The taste is clean, green, and pungent — a young pungent, not the mature pungent flavor that you taste in a garlic clove. When cooked, the flavor softens a bit and becomes more vegetable-like.
This year, since we’ve planted more garlic than ever before, I decided to ferment the first scapes by themselves. I hear that this is a wonderful way to have mild garlic flavor in the kitchen all year long. Perhaps this experiment will turn out brilliantly. If it does, I’ll let you know when jars of potent green scapes will be available at the Beaverton Farmers Market.