Pickled Garlic Scapes

garlic picklesGarlic scapes come but once a year–at the end of May or beginning of June. Scapes are the garlic’s effort to reproduce itself–pushing up a tender stalk that would bulb, flower, and spread its seed if left alone.

But people seldom leave them alone.

Since they are only available for a few weeks, pickling them is one way to have them year round. If you don’t grow lots of garlic you may be lucky enough to find them for sale at your Farmer’s Market.

Garlic scapes are delectable. They are a milder, spring-ier version of garlic and can be sauteed and added to eggs, chopped into salads, stirred into stir-fries, made into pesto. Actually, they can be used anyway that garlic can be used and then a few more.

Scapes can also be pickled and eaten like a dilly bean, or chopped and tossed into egg salad, or chopped up to garnish deviled eggs, or most anything that wants a bit of the pick-up that pickled things offer.

After distributing some of our scapes to  CSA members, I decided to pickle the rest. Some people pickle the whole scape, curly tip and all, but since the tip is tough, I join those who cut off the tips (both the top and bottom) and can only the tender stalk. I did keep the curled ends that remain once the tip is cut off and canned them in a jar of their own.

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Pickled Garlic Scapesscapes

About 1 3/4 pounds makes three 12-16 ounce jars

Get your jars heating in a kettle of water big enough to cover the jars by 1-2 inches. Put lids and rings in a bowl that can handle boiling water and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat up 3 c. of apple cider vinegar,         1 1/2 c. of water, and a scant 1/4 cup pickling salt. (You’ll like have some left over, which would make a great marinade for, say, a cucumber salad.)

Rinse and cut the tips and stiff ends off the scapes in lengths that will fit into your jars. I like the 12 ounce tall jelly jars for these because they are slightly taller than pint jars.

Take the hot jars from the water bath, and pour one jar’s worth of the hot water into the bowl with the lids and rings.  Put some approximation of the following into each jar:spices

1/2 tsp. dill seeds
1/4 tsp. mustard seeds
5-7 peppercorns
1/2 of a cayenne pepper or 1/4 tsp. pepper flakes

(The above is open to discussion and can be modified according to preference–omitting it all if you want.)

Fill the jars with the garlic, being sure none of the pieces stick up over the rim. Fill the jars with the apple cider mix to 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the rims and close up with a lid and ring.

Return to the water bath, bring it back to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove the kettle from the heat and let the jars sit in the bath another 5 minutes before removing them. Let them rest undisturbed for 12 hours. If any jars don’t seal put them in the fridge and use them within 6 months–though give them a week or two for the flavors to come into their fullness before eating.

 

 

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