Big bold garlic bulbs await! But first, some scapes.

The Solstice is coming and it’s almost garlic harvest time. The weeks leading up to harvest when you’re a garlic grower are filled with garlic scapes, those curly top-sets on hard stem garlic varieties. We’ve always snapped bushels full to sell at markets, to local stores and at our on-farm store, enticing folks with delicious garlic flavor while we’re all waiting, waiting for the new crop to come on. Many recipes have evolved to utilize these seasonal treats, from garlic scape pesto and garlic scape soup, to adding chopped scapes to stir-fries and pasta dishes. I like to call them “easy garlic” because there’s no peeling involved. Just chop and use.

But we’re fermentation junkies. When farmers become fermenters, they ferment just about everything, or at least give it a go. Years ago when we hit early June with over a dozen crates of garlic scapes, we took the advice of our neighbor and fer-mentor (ha!) Kirsten Shockey, co-author of five amazing books on all aspects of fermenting from Storey Publishing. She suggested fermented garlic scape paste. We’d made garlic paste, which takes a fair bit of labor (easier now that we have an electric water-peeler – yay!) So garlic scape paste sounded great! Easy! Rinse, grab by bundles and feed through the top slicer of our food processor, mince a bit more in the processor bowl, salt and pack in a crock. A friend and I made 8 gallons worth in about 4 hours. Suffice to say it is now where a whole lot of scapes go.  All the better for being quick, using something we would typically throw away (there’s only so many garlic scapes we can sell in our markets), and is more enticing and exotic than plain ol’ garlic.

Now that we also dehydrate and freeze-dry veggies every day, we also incorporate scapes into our dried foods line. Mince and dry. Our blended garlic-and-garlic-scape powder is a tasty treat. We even freeze-dry garlic scape paste after fermenting, to add to our seasoning blends. Lesson to learn – if it’s edible, make something wonderful with it. If that wonderful something stores a long time, even better!

Now onward to the Great Garlic Harvest!