June Bits and Pieces

June is already slipping away. The weather has been rainy, humid, cold, and hot, though not all at the same time. I spent the second weekend of the month at the Mother Earth News Fair in Vermont. This was my first time as a vendor - selling plants. Due to the low turnout and high costs associated with a booth and travel costs, I did not do as well as I had hoped. But, hopefully I inspired a few folks with some different herbs and also to try some native plants. I am leaning towards growing more natives, especially those that are not easily procured.  I still have many left - Spotted Joe Pye, Allegheny Monkey Flower, New York Ironweed, Elephant's Foot, Virgin's Bower, and many more. If you are looking for some natives to add to your yard, let me know and perhaps I will have something interesting for you.

I swear that yesterday there was no action in the garlic patch. I have been waiting for the scapes to appear on the hard-necked garlic. When I walked by today, low and behold - there they were! And so I quickly harvested them, draping them over my arm as I snapped off each scape. Each year I ponder what to do - there are many recipes out there for garlic scape pesto, ways to use them in cooking, etc. But this year I decided to take the bull by the horns and put them all up so I can have them later in the year.

The first Christmas after I first met my boyfriend Mike, he bought me a present that stumped me. Our first "date" was spent with me telling him about fire cider and how I made it. He was inspired and made some of his own. So, for that first Christmas present, he gave me a food processor. I was a little annoyed - to me, presents should not be practical but special. However, over the past few years I have come to really appreciate his gesture. It is a snap to process my cabbage for sauerkraut or kimchi, to slice or dice vegetables for pickling or drying, and now, to make garlic scape paste. 

Heading to the kitchen with an armload of scapes, I pulled out the processor and got out a sharp knife, two bowls, and some extra virgin olive oil. Into the processor went the cut-up scapes - you don't want to use the blossom end and I find that cutting the scapes into 3 or 4 inch pieces works best. One bowl held the cut off pieces, and the other would be for the paste. I turned on the machine and ground the scapes, adding a little olive oil as necessary to smooth out the mixture into a better texture.

Once all the scapes were processed, I used small snack bags, putting in 3 or 4 generous tablespoons of the paste into each bag. Some folks use ice cube trays, but I like using the bags as they take up little space in the freezer and I can break off as much as I need each time, since they are flatter and simple to cut. Then I squeezed out as much air as I could, put them all in a larger ziploc bag, and popped them in the freezer. I had a couple of teaspoons left, so I added that to some sour cream for a zesty dip. The flavor is a little raw as it is not cooked, but I love garlic and so it works for me.

Enjoy the solstice!

Karen