If you go to the market these days, you might have seen garlic scapes a few times here and there. They are currently in season but it won't last forever. You better hurry up and stock on them while you can!
Garlic scape is actually the flower of the garlic bulb. During spring, the bulb sprouts and then in June, a stalk comes out of it which looks like a "cork-screw". At the end of it" comes the flower, not bloomed yet. This is what we call "garlic scape". We cut and sell it in June and early July until we can finally start finding garlic bulbs later in the summer.
You can consume garlic scape like it is by adding it to your salads and stir-fry instead of actual garlic. You can also steam it like you would do with asparagus or green beans. To enjoy it all year long, you can purée it with some oil (like any pesto) and freeze it. Or simply ferment it!
Lacto-Fermented Garlic Scapes
for one liter/quart jar
Ingredients & props
One quart/liter glass jar, clean*
Cucumber brine : 3 tbsp of unrefined salt + one quart/liter of water
- 15-20 garlic scapes**, the fresher you can find, well washed and ends trimmed (you can keep the unbloomed flower since it's edible)
- 3/4 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 3/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 2-3 bay leaves
- a branch of fresh dill or, even better, the flower head (you can substitute it with 1/2 tsp of dill seeds)
- 1-2 hot peppers, to taste
- 1-2 fresh leaves of either grape vines, oak or horseradish***
*You don't absolutely need to sterelize your jar. Simply clean it well, either in the dishwasher or with hot soapy water.
** Garlic scapes are usually sold in bunch. Don't hesitate to double or triple the recipe if necessary.
***These three kind of leaves are all rich sources of tannins. Tannins help to preserve the crispiness of the veggies during the fermentation process. They are not mandatory but I highly encourage you to add them, even more if you ferment cucumber (pickles).
For the brine:
- This step is optional but highly recommanded : in a saucepan, bring the water to a boil and let it boil uncovered for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, add the salt and make sure it completely disolves.
- Transfer the salted water (your brine) into a glass jar and let cool down at room temperature
The garlic scape:
- In your one quart/liter jar, put all the spices (mustard, coriander, peppercorn, bay leaves, dill and hot pepper)
- Pack the garlic scapes in the jar until there's no more space.
- Pour the brine until the garlic scapes are well submerged.
- Cover with the grape vine, oak or horseradish leaves.
- Put the lid on without completely closing it. That way, the extra CO2 produced during the fermentation process can come out of the jar.
- Place the jar in a bigger container and set these somewhere well airy and without any direct light.
- Ferment 5 to 8 days, depending of the room temperature*. Check them out daily and, after 3 or 4 days, you can start tasting them. When you're pleased with the taste, you can stop the fermentation and set the jar in the fridge. You can keep them like that for many months or even up to a year.
* The warmer it will be, the faster it will ferment. On the opposite, the colder it will be and the slower it will ferment.
You can eat your lacto fermented garlic scape just as it is, as any condiment. You can also make a purée out of it : it is delicious spread on bread, but also added to salad dressing, sauces, hummus and other savory spreads, Don't hesite to share your favorite ways to have it in the comments below!