Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Garlic Scapes, peas and beans, oh my!

The veggies are on their way to turning over from primarily greens and alliums to some fruiting veggies.  Over the past 3 or 4 weeks we've distributed an increasing number of snap or shell peas.  First it was 2 per member.  Then people got 4.  Then 1/2 of the members got peas and the other half got carrots.  Last week everyone received a pint of peas.  This week, you might be happy to hear, that everyone will receive between 3/4 to 1 pound of peas!  In addition, we have green beans growing in the hoop and everyone should receive a decent amount of these as well.  We should also have quite a bit of both for the market.  Woo hoo!

I assume most people know how to eat peas and beans.  We find the shell peas best when eaten raw, right out of the pod.  The larger snap peas need to be strung which means you snap off the end and peel off the string prior to cooking - or you can eat these raw as well.  The beans are stringless so all you have to do is snap off the end that was connected to the plant and blanch or saute.  I like to blanch them lightly and then saute in soy sauce.

The big deal of this week is Garlic Scapes!  This is the bloom of the garlic plant that is pinched off so that the plant can focus on developing the bulb instead of going to seed.  It is a slightly curly stalk with a bulb on the end.  You eat the stalk and all.  We chop up into 1" pieces and saute and then add greens.  The taste is milder than typical garlic.  A really tasty way to eat this is to make a garlic scape pesto.  Scapes, olive oil and sea salt - that's it - ground up not too finely in a Cuisinart.  Spread it on pizza or a sandwich or stir it into pasta or eat it with eggs.  I make a bunch and store it in the fridge.  Scapes keep for months in the fridge.  You can pickle them.  You can eat them raw if you really like garlic.  They're commonly used in stir fries in Asian cooking.

If you haven't eaten scapes before, there's probably a reason.  They are only available for 1 to 2 weeks out of a year.  I've heard that they've been in the farmer's markets already so maybe some farmers have different micro climates which brought them on earlier than here but ours are ready now.  I will be distributing a generous amount of these this week to all members (one quart).  FYI - I've heard they go for 3/$1 at some markets.  If you don't know what to do with them, please take them anyway.  I had a member a couple of years ago that didn't know what they were so she left them and the next week she read an article in the New York Times which listed various recipes and she wanted some the next week and they were gone.


Overall update:  It's been very dry so we've been trying to keep everything watered.  Almost everything is planted and the succession planting continues (lettuce, beets, cilantro, stuff like that).  There are baby tomatoes on the vine in the hoops.  I seriously hurt my back last week (muscular, not disc which is good) but I'm on the mend and our amazing crew is helping to keep things going.  We still have a few spaces for summer so if you know anyone who's interested in joining, please have them contact me.  Thanks!