From Rough Draft Farmstead
Every year in the late Spring we pick off the flower stems growing on top of our hard neck garlic – the scape, or pigtail, as the flower is often referred. Removing these undeveloped flowers encourages the garlic plant to put its energy into creating a larger bulb for later harvest. But farmers soon find themselves with as many scapes as they have garlic plants. Luckily for us, garlic scapes are a special kind of tasty.
Scapes taste a bit like garlicky green onions, and are great in stir-fry or salad. But still, if you have a lot of garlic, it’s hard to use them all before they lose their freshness. That is why this easy relish is an excellent way to keep the scapes around a little longer and to turn them into an exciting and versatile summer condiment.
Makes one quart.
At least 3 dozen scapes (may need more depending on scape size)
1 1/2 tbs Salt
3 cups water (Non-Chlorinated)
2 fresh hot peppers (habenero preferably)
Zest of one lemon
Fresh Cilantro (optional)
Cut your scapes into inch-long pieces. Toss in mixing bowl with lemon zest, and peppercorns then stuff into mason jar until at least three quarters full. Dissolve salt into room temperature, non-chlorinated water then pour brine over scape mixture in jar. Fill jar within one inch of top. Since this is a ferment, you’ll need to leave room for expansion. Place a small sandwich bag of water overtop of the ferment to keep the solids submerged below the brine. Cover jar with small piece of cloth and secure with string or rubber band. Set the relish on the countertop to ferment for at least seven days then transfer to either a dark cellar or refrigerator while waiting for fresh peppers to come in season. It’s nice to allow the flavors to marry for at least a week or two, longer if possible. When fresh peppers are available, blend garlic scapes in food processor with fresh peppers and cilantro (if desired). Serve as salsa, our use as a relish with your summer grilling. Anything from eggs to potato hash to hamburgers will find this spicy relish to be an ideal compliment. Keep in refrigerator or cellar between uses. Will last months in right conditions.