Most of us are familiar with garlic and all the possible uses of this pungent yet tasty vegetable—yes it is a vegetable, belonging to the allium class of bulb-shaped plants which includes onions, chives, leeks, and scallions. Let’s face it, when it comes to recipes like shrimp scampi, the more cloves, the tastier, making garlic one of those vegetables that we love to hate. Though we enjoy its flavor in our food, we detest its odor on our breath.
While most of us can easily identify a garlic bulb or cloves when we see them at our local farm stand, few of us are aware of the less popular—garlic scapes, which are the flower stalks that shoot out of the garlic bulb. Similar to its cousin, chive, a garlic scape looks like a long green shoot with a curl, something akin to a pig’s tail. It has a milder flavor than the garlic bulb and can be sliced and sauted, grilled whole, steamed like a green bean or blanched and used in a salad. They can be used in a number of dishes, including dips, pestos, or soup. The scapes are harvested earlier than the garlic bulb and they pack quite a nutritional punch, containing high amounts of fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Garlic scapes are just one of the many organic vegetables that Colchester Neighborhood Farm is packing into small and large CSA shares this week. Here are some fun facts and nutritional information about this vegetable that you can use to wow your friends.
Besides warding off vampires, according to the website chatelaine.com, it is believed that components of garlic and the scapes will help to re-oxygenate blood and maintain healthy tissues and organs.
Garlic scapes may help to prevent fractures and osteoarthritis.
According to mentalfloss.com China produces the most garlic, growing two thirds of the world’s supply of garlic or approximately 46 billion—with a b—pounds of the bulb.
It is believed that the average person eats approximately two pounds, or 302 cloves, of garlic per year—break open the Listerine!
Garlic is believed to reduce cholesterol.
Garlic scapes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Ancient Egyptians had 22 medicinal uses for garlic.
Because of its medicinal powers, it is believed that writer Bram Stoker chose to use garlic as the vampire repellent in his 1897 novel, Dracula.
If a pimple shows up the night before yearbook photos are being taken, try rubbing a garlic clove on the blemish. The antibacterial properties of the plant are supposed to clear the skin.
And here’s a use for garlic that might take you by surprise, the sticky juice in the cloves can be used as a glue or bonding agent.
Whether you want to add some wonderful flavor to a recipe or ward off a few vampires, stop by Colchester Neighborhood Farm this week to pick up some garlic scapes and other fresh organic vegetables and other items, including organic eggs.