I love garlic. Not only is it so good for you and wonderful to cook with, but it's relatively easy to grow -- simply plant the cloves in the fall, tuck them in under a thick layer of mulch and come spring, celebrate their arrival as one of the first garden edibles to make an appearance.
While much attention is paid to what's underground -- the white papery bulbs -- there's an often overlooked delicacy: the garlic scape.
Scapes are the curly whirly flower stems that the garlic produces before the bulbs mature.
It's a good idea to harvest the scapes when they're still young and tender, shortly after they curl, to help direct the plant's energy towards making a bigger bulb.
Simply trim the base of the stem and the flower tips (though I understand some folks eat these parts too). I've read that it's better to harvest scapes in the afternoon so that the wound heals quickly.
Young and tender scapes can be eaten fresh but we found they still had too much of a burn for our palates.
However, steamed for five minutes and then tossed with a bit of butter and a sprinkling of sea salt and oh my, we had a delicious side dish that even the kids gobbled up.
Thanks to my friend at A Little Crafty Nest for teaching me about the delicious scape!