Posted by Jul 8, 2013

 

With summer in full-swing, Hudson Valley Hospital Center's Farmer's Market is coming into its own with a larger selection of fresh produce from local farms. If you're at a loss for how to prepare some of the produce on sale, Michael Bulger, our Farmers' Market manager, has some suggestions for you.  Here’s is blog item on how to use Garlic Scapes.

 

For a long time, it was common practice for farmers to toss garlic scapes into the compost pile. These stalks are the tops of garlic plants, and they are usually chopped off so that the garlic bulbs grow larger. Thankfully, someone pointed out that scapes are really good to eat.
Now you can find garlic scapes for sale in farmers’ markets during in June or July. They taste garlicky, but won’t be as pungent as traditional garlic. If they’re tender (look for the curved tops), you can chop them up and eat them in a salad.
Toughened garlic scapes can be cooked as you would asparagus, or roasted inside a whole chicken. As scape season soon ends, those who are fond of the stalks may want to freeze some for later use. Try floating them into a winter soup.
For now, whip up some garlic scape pesto, and then toss with vegetables for a delicious summer side:

Makes about 3 cups of pesto.
Ingredients:
•20 large garlic scapes
•1/3 c pine nuts (can also use pistachios)
•1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
•Kosher salt and black pepper
•2/3 c extra-virgin olive oil

In a food processor or blender, puree the garlic scapes, nuts, Parmesan, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper until chopped fine.

Continue pureeing while slowly drizzling in oil. If there is no opening on your machine, you might have to stop and add a little bit of oil at a time. Puree until the pesto is smooth and all ingredients are incorporated.

The pesto will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, if covered. It lasts at least a month if frozen. When you’ve roasted or sautéed some vegetables, you can toss them in fresh or defrosted garlic scape pesto.

In addition to being delicious, garlic scapes pack in some great nutrients. Scapes will provide a surprisingly large amount of calcium and vitamin C. One cup of garlic scapes even provides more protein than a cup of milk.
Fun Fact: Garlic has been around since the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids, and garlic breath has been making daters self-conscious for at least part of that time. But, recent studies have shown that a glass of milk can reduce garlic-induced halitosis. For those who don’t drink milk, some people suggest chewing on parsley, drinking minty tea, or just waiting until later to steal a kiss.