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Garlic Scape Soup

I heart garlic scapes - TheMessyBaker

Don’t believe everything you read. When researching how to grow garlic, every source I read said garlic from seed was next to impossible or took years to mature. Bulbs were the way to go. So a year ago, out of curiosity,  I left some scapes on the plants I grew from bulbs. You know, just for fun. Just to see what the flowers would look and smell like. (For what it’s worth, the flowers reek of garlic and are not nearly as pretty as their cousin chives.) Having completed this casual little go-to-seed experiment, I learned two things.

1. Removing the scapes from garlic does indeed produce a bigger crop.

2. Garlic from seed is not only possible, it’s prolific. This is what I ended up with —

My garlic scape  harvest - TheMessyBaker.com

Three pounds of scapes. The cat is there for perspective. This isn’t a small bowl of scapes. This is the biggest bowl in the set and it’s brimming.

Plus he really, really liked the garlic scapes.

Cat investigates garlic scapes - TheMessyBaker.com

He liked them so much, I ended up providing him with a “sacrifice scape” so he would leave mine alone.

He hung out with his half-munched scape while I tried to figure out what to do with the harvest.

Cat hanging out with his garlic scape -TheMessyBaker.com

Unexpected point 3 — Cats and garlic breath don’t make a good combination.

Invasion of the Garlic Scapes

Seems garlic is as bad as zucchini. Last fall, I planted about 50 garlic bulbs. This planned harvest is growing happily in the front rose bed, basking in full sun. Thanks to my laissez-faire experiment, I have close to 200 uncalled for volunteers. And they have elbowed their way into any spot not blanketed in grass.

Despite sprouting in inappropriate locations, I can’t bear to waste good garlic when local garlic is hard to come by. So, I exercised  three pounds’ worth of garlic birth control and then sat on the porch with the cat to think. He suggested eating them as is.

This guy also licks toads, so I ignored his advice and made garlic scape pesto. That used up about 12 whole stalks. Next, I drizzled a bunch with oil, sprinkled them with coarse salt and then grilled them over direct heat as a side dish. That left 2 pounds, so I made a pot of  Garlic Scape Soup. Only one pound to go.

Garlic Scape Soup - TheMessyBaker.com

So I made more soup.

Garlic Scape Soup - TheMessyBaker.com

All gone.

As, I rummaged about in the fridge making space for the soup, I came across another bag of scapes picked a couple of days ago and forgotten about in all the fuss.

I give up. Fetch me the cat.

Garlic Scape Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Kitchen Garden
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
If you are lucky enough to have a lot of garlic scapes, you can make a batch of this simple but satisfying soup. Don't let the 4 cups of scapes scare you. They are quite mellow by the time the soup is ready.
Ingredients
  • 1lb garlic scapes, cut in 2-inch pieces, flower heads removed (about 4 generous cups)
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian soup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • generous grindfreshly ground black pepper
  • generous pinch fine sea salt
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • ¼ cup whipping cream (35%)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • ½ large lemon, juice and zest
Instructions
  1. Prepare the scapes: Cut the flower heads off the scapes and discard them. Chop the remaining stems into 2-inch pieces. In a saucepan, gently heat the stock over medium while you cook the scapes.
  2. Cook the scapes: Heat the oil in a large, heavy sauce pan over medium and cook the scapes for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, or until they soften. The timing will vary depending on how thick the scapes are. Add the salt, pepper and chili flakes and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Simmer the stock: Pour the hot stock over the scapes and cook with the lid askew, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the scapes are fully cooked and losing their bright green colour but have not turned dead-broccoli grey.
  4. Purée the soup: Working in batches, purée the soup until smooth. You need to use a standard blender since an immersion blender won't get the scapes smooth enough. Scapes can be a bit pulpy, so purée the soup well. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed. Keep the soup warm over low heat until you're ready to serve.
  5. Add the finishing touches: Just before serving, stir in the cream, Parmesan, basil, lemon juice and zest.
Notes
This soup was inspired by Zuppa di Zuccine by Heidi Noble in her award-winning cookbook, Menus from an Orchard Table. (Whitecap ©2007).

 

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10 Responses to Garlic Scape Soup

  1. Patricia June 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    Great recipe!
    On a very hot day, I made a similar soup yesterday in the slow cooker. I like the idea of adding some cream at the finish!
    Patricia recently posted…HORSES & COWBOYS & POETRY?My Profile

    • Charmian Christie June 25, 2013 at 1:09 am #

      Slow cookers are great for soup. I hadn’t thought of that for this recipe. They’re perfect for hot weather. My kitchen heats up in a flash. Must pull out that appliance more often!

  2. Vanessa June 25, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Charmian!
    This looks so delicious! I am now going to be on the hunt for garlic scapes (just learned this word, thank you).
    Everything you have posted in the last few weeks has made me want to move in with you, oh how I envy Andrew!
    Vanessa recently posted…My GirlMy Profile

    • Charmian Christie June 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      Thanks, Vanessa. I only learned about scapes because I started to grow my own garlic. I couldn’t cope with the spongy grocery store version shipped in from Asia. If you have a scrap of land in full sun, I recommend trying to grow your own. It’s dead easy.

      You’re welcome here anytime. I’ve got lots of frozen treats coming up! All homemade.

  3. A Canadian Foodie June 25, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    YUM – I am a soup fiend. Scapes are not up here, yet, either – I am really getting a sense of garden timing East vs West from your site!
    :)
    V
    A Canadian Foodie recently posted…Shrimp Stir FryMy Profile

    • Charmian Christie June 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      Two peas in a pod, aren’t we? I’m a soup fiend, too. And an ice cream addict, which I believe you confessed recently :-)

      Interesting how the gardens find their own timing. So many factors play a role in what grows where and when. It’s always fascinating. Nature is a wonder. Have fun in your garden!

  4. Kirsten May 12, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Charmian,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe with me for my Garlic Scape Recipe Round Up! It’s now live, and I’m so inspired I cannot wait for my scapes to appear. You can see the round up here: http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com/2014/05/28-recipes-using-garlic-scapes-recipe.html or Pin it for later: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/316659417522383833/
    Thanks!
    Kirsten recently posted…28 Recipes Using Garlic Scapes {Recipe Round Up}My Profile

    • Charmian Christie May 12, 2014 at 11:44 am #

      Thanks for including me in such a fun round-up! I can’t wait for my scapes to appear and give these amazing ideas a try.

  5. Tip June 21, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    This recipe looks great (and I plan on trying it this weekend), but I cringed a little inside. Garlic and onions are poisonous to cats. In small amounts it won’t cause any real damage, but too much of it can break down cats’ red blood cells. I’d hate to see such a beautiful kitty get hurt :(

    • Charmian Christie June 21, 2014 at 8:41 am #

      I had no idea that garlic and onions are poisonous to cats. Thanks so much for this information. Don’t cringe too much. The cat’s fine and he only nibbled the green leaves. He likes chomping on greenery and seemed happy just hanging out with the garlic. He didn’t try to eat the bulb. I will, however, be more careful in future! The frustrating part is I bought him oat grass to eat since he loves the garden plants and he won’t touch it! Only the off-limits greens.

      Thanks again and I hope you and the humans in your life enjoy the soup.

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