Every few weeks another season draws to a close. Today is the end of Garlic Scape Season here. The season lasts from mid June to mid July. The year is packed with many seasons, some short, some long.
At the tail end of the season, the garlic flower bulbs are full. Finely chopped or crushed, they provide a nice garlic kick to dishes. I left some scapes to flower. The flower bulbs develop into clusters of tiny garlic bulbs which you can plant. It’s one way to propagate garlic. They tiny bulbs won’t grow into full-sized garlic the first year, but by the second year, you can harvest a nice crop.
There are still some tender parts left on the stems, though probably half of them are now too woody to eat. But something will eat them when they are tossed into the compost.
What I’ve learned from growing produce is that many of the best foods never make it onto the shelves of grocery stores. The grocers want finished produce, not all the transitory parts that you can enjoy while the plant grows. To truly enjoy the gamut of what vegetables really are, you need to have a patch of dirt and grow them, or be friends with someone who does. We miss a lot of what nature has to offer when we distance ourselves from the process of growing produce and leave it to the supermarket to supply us with it. Some things, money just can’t buy.
Shopping for groceries in a supermarket can be stressful. All those people. All that noise. So many decisions to make. Which head of lettuce is the freshest? Which carrots are the sweetest?
Gathering vegetables for dinner in the garden is much less stressful. Few vegetables are so humorous as garlic scapes. They curl into the most curious and funny shapes. Why do they do that?
Going through a garlic field pulling garlic scapes is far less stressful than pushing a shopping cart through a busy supermarket. After pulling a mountain of garlic scapes, it’s on to the cherry trees.
The cherries are ripening early this year, and the birds are leaving them alone for a change. There are plenty for the table and extra to scatter for the chickens. They love sweet fruits. After the cherry trees, it’s on to pick some raspberries and greens. On the way, there is the first Shasta Daisy of the season to smile at.
And here is tonight’s grocery section. It doesn’t take long to fill my “grocery cart”. There’s no shortage of good things to eat tonight.
Washed and ready, there are plenty of good things to make a summer evening meal. There is no going hungry tonight.
So what do I do with garlic scapes? One way I like to make them is to cut them into one to two inch pieces and then sauté them in garlic oil until tender, which is what I’m doing tonight. They are also good roasted, used in soups, eaten raw if very tender, added to omelets, and on and on. What do they taste like? They are like string beans with a hint of garlic.
This time of year there is an endless supply of fresh greens to eat. I’m not even sure what the first green is. I found it growing amid the garlic. Besides the mystery green, there are dill and onion scapes, kale and mustard blossoms, oregano and sage and lovage, and finally garlic scapes, the first of the season.
Recently I read, in disbelief mind you, that some consider cooking and eating such a nuisance, that they have developed a powder you mix with water to make a liquid meal so you don’t have to fuss with getting food and cooking. According to their website, solvent.me, creator Robert Rhinehart and team developed Soylent after recognizing the disproportionate amount of time and money they spent creating nutritionally complete meals. Their catchphrase is what if you never had to worry about food again? Hmm, now wouldn’t that be a boring life.
I’ve never considered the amount of time I spend growing, gathering and preparing food a chore. Going out into the vegetable beds to see what is good to eat is pure pleasure. Watching apple blossoms turn into buds turn into small green fruit turn into ripe red apples is living.
Gathering food, preparing meals, and eating are so much fun, I can’t imagine subsiding on quick, liquid meals. To each their own I guess.