Harvest/Buy Local/Cook + Eat

Text and Photos by Abigail Blinn

There is quite a bit of food growing around Southeast Alaska and many ways to explore the summer harvest! I’ll be sharing some local growers and foodie’s favorite recipes, tips, and tricks for using garlic scapes and kale. These two vegetables grow in abundance this time of year and experimentation is necessary to take full advantage. Many of these recipes also include other local items available this time of year.

First Up: Garlic Scapes

For recipes, visit: https://www.saltandsoilmarketplace.com/recipes. You can also pick up a recipe card with your Salt and Soil Marketplace order!

A garlic scape is the flowering stem of the garlic bulb, harvested before flowering to ensure most of the nutrients go to the bulb. They have a mild garlic-y flavor and are very versatile – add them to soups, salads, and stir-frys, or check out some of the more involved recipes outlined below. 

They are available for a limited time starting in late June until the farmers and garlic growers are done cutting all of the scapes. Check with your local farmer/growers of garlic to see if they have any to spare, or find them for sale at Panhandle Produce and on Salt and Soil Marketplace

Storage and Preservation Tips:

If you are planning on using garlic scapes within a couple of weeks after purchase, it is best to store them in the refrigerator using a breathable bag (paper, mesh, or cloth) in a high-humidity drawer for the freshest results. The scapes tend to wilt a bit on the tips. If this is the case, you can soak the ends into cold water an hour before using them. 

If you are interested in extending the life of the scapes, there are a few options: pickling them refrigerator style, jarring for a shelf-stable product, or blanching and freezing. 

Fridge-pickling involves making a brine first, mixing equal parts vinegar, water, and a teaspoon of salt in a 16 oz pint jar. Chop scapes into two to three-inch pieces. Add them to the brine and store them in the fridge.

Shelf-stable jarring directions can be found using the UAF Cooperative Extension Services resources here: http://cespubs.uaf.edu/

Freezing for later use is always a go-to option for me since it’s the best way to preserve the nutrient content. Blanch by placing two to three-inch pieces in boiling water for one minute. Drain in a colander. Add ice. Let them sit in the ice bath for 2-3 minutes. Use a freezer-safe bag or container and store it in the freezer once cooled for up to 6 months. 

Cooking Tips & Recipes:

The entire scape can be used, from end to tip! Most uses require thinly slicing the scape. If having difficulty chopping, cut the scape longways first to make it easier to cut. Two of the following recipes (hummus and pesto) require a high-speed blender or food processor. 

Garlic Scape Hummus 

Mix the following ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender:

  • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas
  • 3 garlic scapes
  • 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic (or 1 tablespoon of garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

No blender? Thinly chop scapes and garlic, sauté in a tablespoon of oil until translucent (2-3 minutes), then combine scapes and garlic with the remaining ingredients. With a potato masher or similar kitchen tool, mash until mixture is at the desired texture.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Mix the following ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender:

  • 3 cups of spring greens (basil or other herbs, lettuce, kale)
  • 3 garlic scapes
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup of nuts (pine nuts, cashews, or walnuts)
  • 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese (or1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, cumin, and/or red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice

This recipe was created by Cora at Panhandle Produce. She notes pesto is a great way to use garlic scapes and other spring greens and goes well on pasta, crackers, sandwiches and toast!

Savory Scape Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ⅓ cup oil (olive, canola, or vegetable) or 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 garlic scapes, thinly chopped

Directions:

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt). Add the remaining ingredients except for the garlic scapes and whisk until well combined. Let batter sit for 10 minutes to soften the scapes, or for best flavor, sautee scapes first in a tablespoon of oil until translucent, then add to batter. 

Dip savory cakes in sriracha, sour cream, plain greek yogurt, and/or a lemon-ginger sauce:

 

Mix the following ingredients in a high-speed blender:

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger powder or ½ tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • ⅓ cup of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Serve immediately while cakes are fresh and warm! If wanting a more dense pancake rather than fluffy, try adding a bit more oil in the batter or in the pan. I enjoyed ripping the pancake in pieces and dipping them in various sauces.