While it’s great to have variety in our seasons in Eastern Canada, the actually growing periods are short. Although we can get imported food year-round, the taste, freshness, quality and cost are compromised. Nothing beats fresh, local produce. This is why I get particularly excited for our growing season starting in late Spring and lasting well into October (if we’re lucky!). One of the early delicacies I look forward to is garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are only available for a brief period, so I try and use them as much as possible. I also make sure I lacto-ferment a batch to enjoy when their growing season has come to an end.
What Are Garlic Scapes?
Garlic scapes are the stalks of garlic plants. They are pruned (or “deadheaded”) from the plant in order to concentrate energy and nourishment towards the bulb to encourage its growth. (This is also a great method to use for tomato plants and other with other vegetation.) Not only are we left with fattened-up bulbs, these scapes, with their edible flowers, are also delicious and can be used as you would chives or scallions. They have a milder flavour than the garlic bulb and are delicious thinly sliced in salads, sauteed, grilled, made into pesto and preserved. I lacto-ferment garlic scapes, preferring the great fermented tang overusing vinegar (and the living, beneficial bacteria involved in the fermentation process is another bonus!)
Head out to your local market and get some garlic scapes before their short season is over. They are easy to ferment and just need a salt brine. They pack enough flavour on their own, however additional spices and herbs can also be added. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
HOW TO MAKE LACTO-FERMENTED GARLIC SCAPES
Fermentation time: 2-4 weeks
- Garlic scapes
- Brine ( 4 cups filtered water + 4 tsp non-iodized salt )
- Fermentation Container
- Fermentation Weight
- Spices and/or herbs (optional)
1.Wash and dry garlic scapes. If you haven’t freshly picked them, try to trim off the dried ends.
2. Pack into fermentation container and add fermentation weight. Fill with brine, leaving a 1″ space to the top of the container.
3. Lid container. Leave to ferment at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for 2-4 weeks.
4. Refrigerate when you are happy with the flavour.