Identifying a Garlic Scape
Maybe you grow your own garlic, maybe you don't. I do and if you do too, but maybe you're not all that experienced with garlic, you may have noticed these 1/4" to 3/8" thick curly-cue stems/buds protruding from your garlic plants. Fear not... this is normal. This is called the garlic scape. Here's what it looks like:
Unfortunately, it wasn't until I'd harvested and processed all of the scapes that I had the thought to write about it on the website. Sooo, I pilfered the above image from the Internet. Anyhoo, a scape protrudes from the garlic plant/leaves and generally reaches a length of about 18"-24". You'll know it's the scape when it forms the distinctive curly-cue.
The scape will generally appear and reach full length about a month or two before the garlic bulb is ready to be harvested. You can harvest and eat the flowering bulb, but it doesn't contain as much flavor and aroma as the scape stem itself. I just cut the bulb off, but that's me. In terms of the scape, you can cook with it just like a garlic clove as it contains the same flavor as the cloves... Here's what you do...
Processing a Scape
Cut the scape off just above the last of the garlic leaves, remove the bulb, then cut it up as fine as possible (mince) like chives. You'll notice that the texture is harder than that of the clove. Now, take the minced up pieces and toss them all in to a food processor or mini Cuisinart. Chop the scape up in the food processor until it's pulverized or ultra minced. You do not want to liquify it. Once it's reduce to super tiny pieces, place a quarter teaspoon into each of the blocks of an ice cube tray. Then fill each block/cube with olive oil and freeze.
After just a few hours, the olive oil will cloud over and freeze.
Let the olive oil scape cubes freeze for a day or two and then remove the individual cubes and bag them. Make sure to label them accordingly. This will free up the ice cube trays for basil in olive oil or rosemary in olive oil. Trust me, these will prove to be handy little cubes of deliciousness in the middle of winter and you'll be glad you saved these herbs in olive oil.