I am obsessed. Obsessed with the bounty of seasonal produce at all of the great farmers markets all over San Antonio. While you see the same produce popping up in various stalls, some just call out your name louder than others. For me, right now I’m all about the items that have short seasons. Why? I feel like it’s a treasure hunt to find those things that you can only get a limited time each year. The produce that is fleeting on the various rainbow-colored tables. The things that producers sell out of if you’re not quick, and not keeping your eyes peeled. One of those particular, special items popped up recently–Scapes. I had to grab them up and have some fun with them before they were gone!
Wait. You’re not familiar with Scapes? Don’t feel bad. My husband had no idea what they were, and my mother said she’d never heard of them. Many people wouldn’t know a Scape from a weed. But don’t worry–I’m here to edu-ca-mate you about these flavorful and versatile stalks.
While I am NOT a gardener by any stretch of the imagination (I leave that to the pros), I like learning about all of the various ways that familiar vegetables and fruits can produce off-shoots (pun intended) that are just as edible and just as tasty. The garlic bulb is one of those items that has life beyond just the cloves themselves.
According to most references out there, Scapes are the flower stalks that grow out of garlic bulbs. If allowed to flower, they will apparently push the bulbs past the state of further production. Now that right there is a travesty, because who doesn’t always want MORE garlic?? But if snipped before flowering, these stalks–or Scapes–can be eaten and used in just about any way you can use chives or green onions. Cool, huh?
In this case, I was gushing with excitement when I saw these beautiful, green stalks on the produce table of Ottmers Family Farm. This vendor always has an irresistible selection of veggies, and they are so patient when talking to customers (like me!) about how to best bring out the natural flavors of their produce.
When I got these beauties home, I knew that there were two things I wanted to do with them–grill them, and make a salad dressing with them. I was amazed at how simple these were to prepare, and how delicate and delicious they were with our dinner. If you are lucky enough to come across these fresh and pretty stalks, grab them up immediately. You will be so glad you were introduced to this versatile and wonderful produce!
Now I just need to get more Garlic Scapes before they’re gone for the rest of the year!