With everything that’s happened this year, we haven’t been able to make as much of the garden as we would have liked. Really, we’d hoped to have finalised the purchase of our land by now and have had access over the summer – to set up “camp” and start to get some vegetable beds ready for autumn planting. That was not to be, unfortunately. A downside of the delay, however, is that we’d been happily neglecting the vegetable patch we’d cultivated in our neighbours garden, planting a few things here and there but nothing too permanent and nothing that would be ready later in the year, as we thought we’d already be on our way! What we had got going were a few “easy” plants that were started earlier in the year, to be ready about now. One such plant was garlic.
I’ve grown garlic before, although without much success, but the principle of taking a single bulb, planting individual cloves, and being rewarded with as many whole bulbs as cloves, still appealed. I picked some up at the local Gamm Vert – alongside some onion sets – and for 3 euros, the same price as a small bunch of organic garlic, figured there was nothing to lose.
Possibly they went in a little late and consequently they were a little underdeveloped, but hey. The bed became quite overgrown but yesterday we decided to set to it because we needed the space to put in some baby leek plant that our neighbour had someone managed to pick up for free from a local market at the end of the day. She’s brilliant like that. We pulled everything up and I was surprised to find that many of the bulbs were more developed than I thought they would be. We do have garlic after all!
I chopped off the stalks, leaving the bulbs and put the bulbs aside to dry. That left quite a lot of greenery, which got me wondering – what could I do with the stalks? It turns out that the stalks, called garlic scapes, are an edible delicacy in their own right. People actually buy them at markets. They can be chopped up like chives in omelettes, added to soups, or – and the option I went for – made into pesto.
Oh. My. Goodness. I read various recipes, put a few ideas together and ended up with this: garlic scape, lemonbalm, and sunflower seed pesto. It was lush. Unfortunately, the two smalls both turned their noses up at it (to be be expected, so lucky for them I had put some plain pasta aside before adding the sauce) but I’ll definitely be making it again. In case you are interested to try it yourself, here’s the recipe.
It just so happens to be vegan because I decided to leave out the cheese. It actually tasted great with cheese but I decided to add this to taste afterwards, which I think worked well.
I’ve also added below the recipe for creamy onion soup, which I made after harvesting an entire bed of slow-growing (and fast bolting) onions. Again, they went in a little late so we decided to pull them up and make room for something else (in this case, tomatoes and courgettes.) That particular recipe went down a storm with my onion-hating daughter. I’ve no idea why, but she loved it!
If you make either of these recipes, please do let me know what you thought of them. Have you heard of garlic scapes before? Have you grown them? Drop me a comment!