Friday, June 15, 2012

Farm Fridays: Preserving Garlic Scapes

I don't know about you, but I've got too many garlic scapes sitting around.

Garlic scapes are one of my favorite springtime delicacies. They're awesomely smooth and curly and give a mellow garlic flavor to any dish. I've been using them in place of garlic cloves for the past few weeks (and I put garlic in nearly everything), but I still haven't diminished my stockpile. After picking a new batch up from the farm this afternoon, I noticed my old ones were beginning to yellow at the tip. Something had to be done.

One of my preserving books suggests preserving garlic scapes by sauteing them in oil for a few minutes and then freezing them in ice cube trays. I tried this last year with a small amount of scapes and it worked well (although it was nearly Christmas before I rediscovered them in the freezer). With a few minor tweaks, that recipe took care of today's scape problem, too.

My new garlic scapes came with a moderate pile of other produce (not as generous as the previous few pick-ups): four heads of lettuce (ok, that was generous - I took one large green one and three tiny red ones), a head of broccoli, two zucchini, dandelion greens, a Chinese cabbage and a bunch of chard. The Chinese cabbage looks particularly good. I don't know about the dandelions - I'm not into bitter greens. I'll try them anyway, but I'm doubtful I'll like them. I'm hoping to contain the lettuce mania this week - most of it will be pawned off on brought up to my parents, so we should actually have a few lettuce-free days before our next pickup. At least I have a variety of salad veggies to put on it this week, like that gorgeous broccoli head.

Frozen Garlic Scapes in Oil
From Put 'Em Up!

any amount garlic scapes
1 tbsp olive oil per cup of scapes
salt to taste

Chop the scapes into relatively even slices.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the scapes, season with salt, and saute about 5 minutes, until softened.

Turn off the heat and transfer to a freezer-safe container. (The original recipe said ice cube trays, but I tried that last year and, when it came time to transfer my cubes to a bag, they broke apart into individual scapes again. That suggests to me that just tossing them all in the same container from the beginning will be fine. It's probably the oil that keeps them from adhering to one another.) Make sure you label it with the date. The scapes will be good for up to six months in the freezer.

Yes, it's that easy.

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