growing food

Gather Ye Garlic Scapes, While Ye May.

Garlic growers, check your garlic to see if you have scapes yet!  Ours were ready to gather and we got quite the haul.

  If this is your first year growing garlic (and as such, collecting garlic scapes), you can find some recipes here:
  Snip those scapes, saute them up and thank me later.



Garden Fresh Dried Tomatoes

  If you garden, and your garden has tomatoes, you probably go through the same stages I do each summer.  The first stage is planting.  It’s been a long, cold winter of store-bought tomatoes and MAN what you wouldn’t give for a fresh, sun-ripened one…you plant far more tomato plants than you need.  The second stage is waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting…for what seems like an interminable amount of time while your plants flower and get itty bitty little tomatoes that eventually turn into bigger tomatoes and then seem to stay green forever.  The third stage, the golden stage, is when the first handful of tomatoes ripen.  Heaven, with a healthy dose of lycopene.  The third stage is quickly followed by the fourth…when tomatoes shoot out of your ears as they all get ripe at once and if you don’t know how to preserve them in jars, you don’t know what on earth you’re supposed to do with all of them.
  Here’s an option:
Here’s what you need:
Fresh tomatoes (roma sized is recommended, but make sure they’re all one size*)
olive oil
herbs of choice (optional)
*we had both romas and pear tomatoes on the same sheet
 the smaller ones started to burn before the others were finished.
  Clean your tomatoes and then slice them in half, lengthwise.  Place them in a bowl and toss with olive oil to coat before placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  If you want to season your tomatoes, sprinkle your herbs on top of them.  Turn your oven to the lowest heat setting and allow your tomatoes to cook for between 8 and 12 hours.  Basically, the time is going to be determined by the size of your tomatoes and the heat of your lowest setting.  You want your tomatoes to be cooked enough that they don’t ooze juice when you squish them, but not so dry that they’re crunchy.
  We did this with a big bag of tomatoes and I’ve been keeping them in the fridge and snacking on them.  They (obviously) take up far less fridge real estate this way, have a more intense flavor, and make it far easier to down 4 tomatoes in a sitting.
  The tomatoes are still coming in, so we’ll see how many more batches we make, but this is definitely a handy trick for extending their shelf life when you know there’s no way you’re getting through the harvest you hauled in before it starts to rot if you leave them fresh.

Sauteed Garlic Scapes

  I’ve been growing garlic for several years now.  We use a ton of garlic in our cooking and aside from generally preferring to know exactly where our food comes from and what’s been put on it…it’s just nice having one less thing we’ve got to spend money on.  It’s crazy easy to grow, and now that we’re freezing a good portion of it, our haul lasts us almost year round.
  Every year at this time, I do the only thing you need to do between planting and harvesting and cut the scapes off my garlic.  Every year it seems like we’re inordinately busy and instead of trying cooking with them, I plunk them in a vase of water and leave them be, and every year I have one friend who looks at those vases with despair in her eyes and says “you know you can cook them, right?”.
  I finally understand.
  I have quite the haul of scapes, so there are a few recipes I want to try with them (which I’ll share of course), but the first is the quickest, easiest and is to die for delicious.
  I’m not going to bother with measurements…all you need is garlic scapes and butter.
  Honestly, I ought to have cut mine a little earlier.  The earlier you get them, the more tender they are, but, life interferes sometimes, so I just pulled the most tender ones I could find out of the basket.  Snip the long ends off of the end that would flower (they burn really easily otherwise) and toss them into a pan with some melted butter over medium heat.  Be warned, if you just cut them, they’re probably going to spit at you while they cook, but saute them for a good 5-7 minutes anyhow.
  The flavor is incredible.  It’s like garlic toast…without the unnecessary toast carrier.  The texture is somewhere between green beans and celery (with the larger scapes being more stringy like celery or asparagus).  …I kind of want to cry that I let the scapes go to waste these last few years!
  Because this was the first time I was cooking them and I was kind of in a hurry, I didn’t cook as many as I ought to have.  Every single one of them got devoured, and I’ll admit, G had to rather staunchly defend his plate to keep me from stealing some of his.  The garlic bulbs are why we’re growing the plant, but wow…I think these scapes would justify the garden space even if we didn’t get the bulbs later in the season.