Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pickled Garlic Scapes

I didn't plant garlic last fall to harvest this summer, first time in years I haven't grown garlic. I need a new bed with better drainage, although most years the bed I have is adequate. Last year I lost about half my garlic, shallots and leeks to a wet year and poor drainage.

I seldom used all my scapes when I grew garlic, and many went to waste. This recipe for Pickled Garlic Scapes came in a newsletter from Southern Seed Exposure and it sounds delish. They adapted a recipe for dilly beans found in Sandor Katz's book Wild Fermentation. These are not naturally fermented like Katz would do (which would be healthier and full of lactic acid) but made like today's vinegar canned pickles.

Pickled Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes. Trim by snapping off the tough flower end and breaking into lengths that will fit into quart jars with at least half an inch of head space. We get 1 or 2 pieces per scape.

Whole dried chili peppers
Celery seed
Dried dill
White vinegar (champagne/white wine vinegar is less harsh and smoother than distilled vinegar)

1. Thoroughly clean as many glass quart canning jars as you think you'll be filling - make your best guess.

2. Place in each jar: 1 tsp. salt, 1 whole dried pepper, 1 Tbsp. dill, and a small pinch of celery seed. Then pack each jar as tightly as you can with the trimmed garlic scapes standing on end.

3. For each jar, measure 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water. Bring the vinegar-water mixture to a boil, then pour it into the jars over the scapes, up to one half inch from the top of the jar, being sure all scapes are covered. Top off all jars, leave about a quarter of an inch of headspace; make more brine if necessary.

4. Close the jars with new lids, then place them in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes to heat process. Once the jars are cool, make sure the seals are good by checking that the button at the center of the lid doesn't pop.

"While you can let the flavors meld for a few weeks, we think these are pretty tasty after just a few days. You can skip the last step and keep the jars in the refrigerator and they'll stay good for several weeks. But if you do this step, you can store them for years without refrigeration."

They sound yummy enough that I will make some next year when I grow garlic again, but I will do a natural fermentation.


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