Moving toward a locavore lifestyle (eating only food grown locally in Whatcom County) can initially seem to limit your choice of ingredients. For example, bananas and mangoes require a tropical growing climate, and don’t do well in our mild Pacific Northwest weather. However, as I’ve begun to explore local foods, I’ve also found new ingredients and food varieties to add to my meals. Garlic scapes and green garlic are excellent examples currently in season.
Garlic is a flavor I sometimes take for granted in my cooking. For me, it’s ubiquitous–I include it in almost every main dish I prepare. The health benefits of eating garlic are incredible. However, there’s so much more to appreciate about garlic than the flavor of the cloves, the part of the plant most commonly available in grocery stores.
“Green garlic”, which looks like scallions, is immature garlic stalks pulled to thin a field before the plants begin to form bulbs. It can be used either raw or cooked whenever you want a milder garlic flavor, a crunchier texture, or the greener color in your dish. As with onions, the white portion of the stalk has the sweetest flavor. The green leaves can taste a little bitter.
“Garlic scapes” (see photo) are the curly portion of the stalks of hardnecked garlic which would form flowers if left to develop. Scapes are usually removed by the farmer before flowering starts so the bulb will grow faster and produce bigger cloves.
Both green garlic and garlic scapes are delicacies you won’t often find in American grocery stores, though they are beginning to be discovered. We are fortunate to have both available and in season now in Whatcom County.
Here’s the menu for this week:
Hope you enjoy experimenting with these garlic delicacies!