Well, I may have harvested all of my garlic bulbs last week, but i didn't mention much of my earlier harvest of the unbloomed flower heads, or "scapes." Thanks to Susy at Chiot's Run for mentioning scapes to me on one of my flickr photos, as i was unaware of the name. What i WAS aware of was how delicious they were! I clipped the scapes in hopes to direct the attention of the garlic to its bulbs, not its tops - but i put the trimmed tops into a few dishes and wowee, so good! The flavor was more like roasted garlic than fresh. Buttery, creamy, and very flavorful!
-Image courtesy of Chiot's Run
This site has some good info on scapes. Here's another article from the Washington Post. Looks like i missed out on the best scape harvest: the scape is the stalk holding up the bloom, not the bloom itself, and is tender and mild in flavor. I waited until the stalk got a bit tougher to hold up the bloom, but before the blooms opened up. The blooms were delicious, and the tough stalk softened decently in recipes and tasted nice and mildly garlicy. The scape would be great in pesto - i must try that next year (when my stupid garden rotation timing is hopefully better and my basil is actually grown instead of waiting for the harvest of onions in the basil beds) or as a substitution for the basil for a full own garlicy-pesto feast!
All my research on scapes has lead me even more to believe that i should have waited about 2 or more weeks from scape harvest to bulb harvest. Well, again : hopefully next year i'll have more time and more efficiently managed space! That is if i can get the chickens to understand the new bed in the back is for PLANTS not DUST BATHS. Sigh.
Here's to learning new things!
On that note, i just want to wax philosophical on how much i love being a gardener: I've always loved learning, was sad when i had to leave school (though appreciated earning money to do what i love instead of paying to do it), and fell into a pattern of routines. When i decided to better myself as a gardener, learning took a whole new role in my life! Here is something i want to do and excel at for the rest of my life, but doing it faces daily, weekly, seasonally and yearly challenges and rewards. What better past time, activity, passion to get involved with than gardening to stimulate the brain, body, and spirit?! I love learning new things, whether by research, reading, conversation, or trial and error. Gardening is just the best! (sappy interlude over).