My fiancé and I finally joined a CSA this year and we’re now three weeks in. Unpacking the crate every Tuesday feels like Christmas to me. I don’t know why I didn’t join one sooner! So far, participating in the CSA has provided us with so much food that we almost don’t know what to do with it all. Last night after work, Greg shelled peas and cut up garlic scapes while I washed, chopped, and froze the broccoli, parsley, spinach, and onions. We still have lettuce, kale, and about one metric ton of rainbow swiss chard that need processed. Needless to say, it’s been a fun challenge trying to plan our meals for the week so that we use up as much fresh food as possible. When the produce is this delicious, it’s a mortal sin to let any of it to go to waste. Luckily, the CSA we joined is awesome and sends me a weekly email giving me a heads up on what I can expect at the next pick-up (complete with recipes!). That being said, when the first crate arrived and I peeked inside, I saw something that made me say to myself, “Wtf is this?!”
Is anyone else as new to garlic scapes as I was three weeks ago?? Garlic scapes are the long, thick, twisty, immature flower stalks of the garlic plant. When you cut them off, it forces the plant to put all of it’s energy into developing the garlic bulb. Some folks toss the scapes into the compost pile, but they’re actually very edible and very delicious. For the last three weeks I’ve found myself looking for different things to do with the mountain of garlic scapes we keep getting. If you’re sitting at home right now like I was, wondering what the heck you’re supposed to do with all those scapes, fear not. A garlic scape is sort of like a green onion, so anything you would do with one can be done with the other. My CSA recommends chopping them up and stirring them into mashed potatoes or throwing them into soups and stews. (This recipe for spinach, pea, and garlic scape soup looks especially amazing.) You could also turn them into a bright green and flavorful pesto or use them in a rub to flavor chicken. I’ve even seen people grill them and add them to a nice veggie stir fry. Who knew these things were so versatile?
Last week I made a gigantic batch of pesto and it was a huge hit, so I thought I’d share the recipe. Pesto freezes well, so I made extra to keep on hand for a quick dinner some time down the road.
Garlic scape and walnut pesto:
1lb garlic scapes, cut into 2 inch pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
a squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Toss the garlic scapes and walnuts into a food processor. Slowly add the olive oil while the food processor is running until the mixture is relatively smooth. Blend in the cheese, lemon, salt, and pepper. Stir into pasta or mix with mayonaise and use as a spread for crackers or sandwiches.