First Harvests of the Season!

In the Sullivan Memorial Garden, we have had another bountiful strawberry week! We harvested over 20 lbs of strawberries this week which we then froze for future classroom smoothies. We are also seeing the first sprouts of the pole bean, nasturtium, and marigold seeds that we planted just a couple of weeks back.

In addition to strawberries, we also harvested garlic scapes!

What are garlic scapes?

You’re not alone, I had never seen nor heard about garlic scapes before this summer.

There are two types of garlic that you can grow in your garden, soft-necked garlic and hard-necked garlic. Garlic scapes, also known as garlic spears, are the flower stems that only grow from the top of hard-necked garlic. They form a flower bulb that contains seeds for the garlic to propagate, or reproduce. The garlic plant uses a lot of energy to maintain these garlic scapes so removing the garlic scapes will actually allow the plant to produce larger garlic bulbs! Think of it as a bonus harvest!

To harvest them, the scape should be at least 6 inches long. Grasp them as close to the base as you can and pull firmly and slowly in the vertical direction. You are supposed to feel and hear a satisfying pop but they often break off, so don’t worry! You can also just cut the garlic scape off.

You can find garlic scapes at farmer’s markets in late spring/early summer!

Now what do I do with the scapes?

Think of the scapes as a thicker scallion with a whole lot more garlic flavor in it. With using garlic scapes, you can get that yummy garlic flavor without all the prep of peeling and mincing garlic!

One of my favorite flavors is roasted garlic but typically, you have to roast whole garlic in the oven for 30-40 minutes! That’s too much time of ingredient prep for me. But with garlic scapes, you can get a similar flavor by grilling or pan frying the scapes with some olive oil. Cooking the scapes sweetens and removes the bitterness but keeps that garlicky goodness.

You can also roast whole garlic scapes in the oven to make a side dish for dinner! Just drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and stick it in a preheated 400 F oven for 10-15 minutes until they start turning brown.

You can make it into a garlic scape pesto to add to sandwiches, soups or pastas.

Recipe of the Week:
Garlic Scapes Grilled Cheese with Spinach, Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the grilled cheese
(457 calories per serving):

8 slices of sourdough bread (use whole wheat bread for extra fiber and protein)
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
8 garlic spears
2 tbsp olive oil

For the salad
(110 calories per serving):

2 cups of baby spinach
1 cup of fresh strawberries
2 tbsp of honey
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
black pepper

Instructions:

  • Wash and remove the leafy tops of the strawberries
  • In a food processor or blender, puree the strawberries, honey, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar until smooth
  • Rinse and dry the baby spinach, drizzle the dressing over the spinach.
  • Slice the garlic spears
  • In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil then add the garlic spears. Cook for a couple of minutes until the outsides start to brown, they will look a little charred. Remove from heat.
  • In a bowl, mix the cheddar cheese and the garlic spears together.
  • Sandwich 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese garlic spear mix between two slices of bread.
  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the same frying pan used for the garlic scapes, place one or two sandwiches on your frying pan and cook on medium heat until the underside is a golden brown the the cheese inside starts to melt a little.
  • Flip and cook on the other side until the filling has melted and the crust turned golden brown. Do the same for the next two sandwiches.

Taste of Home also has some really interesting savory dishes to try with strawberries with recipes like “Chicken with Berry Wine Sauce” and a “Seared Salmon with Basil Strawberry Relish”.

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