*Yes, I did mean late June… this mid-July rainy weekend is allowing me to get all caught up, and I couldn’t skip over the joys of the transition from leafy greens to other vegetables and fruit in the garden!*
Along with our bounty of lettuce, we’ve happily begun to harvest some sweet, crunchy, and spicy veggies to add some diversity to our garden meals. Late June brings asparagus, strawberries, peas, kohlrabi, and garlic scapes to Vermont gardens, along with a continued bounty of edible flowers and tender herbs.
I love savoring the firsts: our first two pea pods – our first spear of asparagus – the first taste of a freshly sun ripened strawberry.
With a large garden, this quickly changes into harvest management. Which evening is free to pickle all the garlic scapes? We missed a day harvesting peas – remember to leave extra time tomorrow to harvest two days worth. Did that kohlrabi double in size last night?
I never regret the constant magnetic pull these bounties have, drawing me outside into the garden and inside into the kitchen.
If you’re growing garlic, this time of year yields an abundance of beautiful garlic scapes. My favorite way to use scapes is to ferment them. I will admit that fermented garlic is an acquired taste. The smell is probably what some people think of when they complain about the stinkyness of foods like kimchi. However, when cut small and used as a garnish, pickled scapes add a wonderful earthy garlicy flavor to a dish and are a great way to enjoy your scapes throughout the year.
Naturally Fermented Garlic Scape Pickles:
– Pack as many scapes as you can into glass Mason jars. I like to pack some using only vertically trimmed spears and some that allow the twisty shapes to wind around the inside of the glass.
– If you have whey from strained plain yogurt or brine from a previous batch of saurkraut or fermented veggie, add a splash to each jar.
– Add 1 scant teaspoon sea salt to each pint of veggies.
– Fill each jar the rest of the way with water and place lids on top without screwing them on (this allows gasses to escape and avoids making fizzy pickles while keeping out dust or flys). Place jars on a plate or flat-bottomed dish on your counter (this keeps your counter clean in the event of an overflow during the fermentation process).
– Let jars sit at room temperature for at least a week. Every day or two I screw on the lids tightly and tip the jars over a few times, coaxing out the air bubbles.
– When the color of the scapes has changed throughout each spear, they’re ready for a taste test. If they’ve soured enough for your tastes, put into your fridge to slow the fermentation process.
– When you’d like to use, gather several scapes and cut straight across, making small rounds that add great garlic flavor when used as a garnish.