Until recently I had only ever seen garlic scapes used as an addition to flower bouquets. I was quite pleased to learn that scapes have so much more to offer than just aesthetic value to hipster brides’ smelly wedding bouquets… As local chefs have been up to their ears in scapes for several weeks now, it appears as if I’m a little behind on the whole edible garlic scape fad. Garlic scapes are the shoots/stalks that grow from hardneck Rocombole varieties of garlic. At the young and tender age of 1-2 months, scapes look like curly green stalks with tightly closed buds on top. I don’t know about you, but I think scapes look alot like the creepy mechanical bug that burrows itself into Neo’s navel in the Matrix. Scapes are typically harvested in early June to avoid any nutrient loss from the eventual harvested plump garlic bulbs.
I acquired these local serpent beauties from the Wake Robin Farm stand last weekend at the Portsmouth farmers’ market. Having absolutely zero ability to correctly eyeball the number of jellybeans in the jar, I winged it and purchased a pound and a half of scapes. This yielded three VERY packed pint jars of asian pickled garlic scapes. I just finished my last jar of oh so tasty pickled edamame so I figured a similar brine with a bit more heat would work nicely. Use these pickled scapes atop a salad, in a hummus, on a pizza, or eat them straight out of the jar (caution: this may or may not be the best life choice before a date).
A note about canning with oil: a) be really careful about cleaning your rims, b) check regularly for jars that unseal, even quite a while after processing, c) shelf life is not as long as canned goods without added fats.
- 1-1/2 pounds garlic scapes (dry part up to bulb and woody ends trimmed)
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds (I used a mixture of white and black seeds)
- 2 inches of fresh garlic (cut into 1/4 inch slices)
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp - Tbsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 Tbsp salt
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups white vinegar
- Toast sesame seeds either on stove top or in the oven for 10 minutes on 300F.
- In a medium-sized, non-ionized pot bring all of the ingredients (except for the sesame seeds, ginger and scapes) to a boil.
- Divide the sesame seeds and sliced ginger between your hot, sterilized mason jars leaving some seeds to sprinkle on top later.
- Pack garlic scapes in a circular fashion into jars leaving approx. 1/2 head space.
- Sprinkle some leftover sesame seeds into jars then pour in the vinegar brine leaving 1/4 inch space below the rim.
- Wipe rims, apply lids and rings (finger tight). Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
- Remove jars from canner, let sit on a folded towel on counter top for 12-24 hours.
- Store jars in a cool dry place for at least 2 weeks before consumption.