Pickled Garlic Scapes & Flowers with Coriander, Lavender and Black Pepper
Garlic is a crop that keeps on giving. Once the garlic is planted and begins to grow, the farmer thins out the plants. The plants plucked from the ground to make more room for the garlic crop to grow is "spring garlic" (which we had a couple of weeks ago) and it looks like green onions. Next the plants that are left in the ground send up it's scapes which are essentially it's flower stalks. They curl and whirl into whimsical shapes and the farmer chops them off which not only is a delight to those that love them, but a bonus to the farmer as it allows the bulb underground to grow larger and stronger and gives them another crop to sell. From here the bulb is left in the ground until it is ready to be pulled to sell as garlic bulbs. Some folks like "green garlic" which is garlic just out of the ground, or it is hung and dried to harden and form it's familiar papery dry husk.
Garlic scape season is basically the month of June. I love these creatures of the allium family, so I make a point to stock up on my scape pickles and pesto. Here's how to make garlic scape pickles. You can keep it as simple as you like, just adding a little seasoning to the salt and vinegar mix. I went a little fancy with this batch since I had just harvested some flowers. I'm giving you a recipe for simple pickled scapes, but if you want to make this version, use the spices I list below instead of the cayenne, garlic and dill in the simple recipe. Also, stuff about a half cup of edible flowers into the cracks of scapes so you can see them in the jar.
The scapes are curly and I like to leave them in curly form because really, how often do you get to make curly pickles!? Some folks prefer to straighten them out and cut them into equal lengths.
I used 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds, 2 tablespoons of coriander seeds and about a teaspoon of lavender buds and a teaspoon of black pepper.
Here are the finished scape pickles. They just keep getting better and better, so when I put them out with some beautiful cheeses and crusty bread this Winter, I'll enjoy them at least as much as I do with the first batch I dig into this weekend!
Simple Pickled Garlic Scapes (see my notes on spices for making my Coriander, Lavender and Black Pepper Version)
2 pounds garlic scapes
1/4 cup canning salt (I like Diamond brand. Regular salt is fine, just don't use Kosher)
2-1/2 cups vinegar
2-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
4 cloves garlic, divided
4 tsp dill seeds, divided
Trim scapes. Combine salt, vinegar and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Pack scapes into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, and 1 tsp. dill seeds to each pint. Ladle hot liquid over scapes, leaving " headspace .Remove air bubbles. Cap and process pints 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Makes about four pints.