Friday, June 25, 2010
From the Farm: Getting your garlic on
Garlic is one of those plants it would never have occurred to me to attempt in a home garden. I have no idea why, it's so common, and I cook with it constantly, but regardless. We grow vast amounts of it here, literally thousands of plants, on a beautiful hillside, and we're just beginning our harvest.
Garlic is planted in the fall for a spring/summer harvest. It's normally as easy as just sinking a clove in the earth and keeping the thing relatively weed-free. (For a glimpse at the Zen potential of garlic plant weeding, check out my blog.)
Over the past few weeks, we've started plucking off the scapes -- the curlicued green things with white tips that spring from the center of the greens -- both because it leads to a larger bulb, and because they are tasty by themselves. Plucking the scapes is also strangely satisfying. The pluck off easily, just grab it at the base with your fingers and twist, making a really satisfying snappy sound. At right, my farming buddy Dave is preparing bunches of scapes to sell at the Manchester Farmer's Market.
We use the scapes, and sometimes the greens too, in pesto. We also roast them with olive oil, salt and pepper. And we're beginning to harvest the whole plant, even though they're only single cloves at the moment. Tonight we're having curry with garlic cloves and greens, and a side of roasted scapes. Talk about leaving no trace.