Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chores Pleasant and Otherwise

We're sure having a lot of rain this spring. That means that I'm spending more time inside, doing housework and other indoorsy sort of things than I would normally in June. I hope the rain tapers off here so that summer can get underway. The tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants could do with some properly blistering days.

Today I harvested all the remaining garlic scapes, those fleeting late spring delicacies. I left a few scapes intact from each of the varieties of garlic I'm growing, except for the chesnok red. See, removing the scapes is supposed to make the bulbs bigger (logical), but leaving them in place is supposed to give you smaller bulbs that store longer (possible). Since my garlic all started sprouting in December last year, I'm hoping that I can store a portion of this year's harvest a bit longer. We'll see how it goes. I devote what is probably an excessive amount of thought to extending the portion of the year when we eat our own garlic. I'll let you know how this experiment works out. Oh, and I cut all the chesnok red because it is supposed to store for less time overall than the other five varieties of garlic. While I was out there harvesting, I had to beat back some nemorosa sage (an ornamental for the bees) that was sprawling all over the garden and into one row of garlic in particular. You'd think it owned the place or something. It makes for nice bouquets.


Anyhoo, I was planning to make garlic scape pesto, which all the gardeners seem to be raving about these days. But shock and horror! My supply of nuts to make pesto was unconscionably low. So I whipped up one batch with the few walnuts I had, and then another slightly larger batch with a slightly larger supply of pecans. Oh man! This stuff is maddeningly good! Why didn't I make some of this last year? (Because I'm hopelessly unhip, obviously.) It couldn't be a simpler recipe: equal parts by volume of nuts and coarsely chopped garlic scapes, plus a big pinch of salt, all pulverized in the food processor, then add generous amounts of olive oil to reach a decent consistency. I know it's vague, but you'll do well, grasshopper.

Seriously, I could have eaten this stuff with spoon until it was gone. Instead I contented myself with a few scoops on carrot sticks. I definitely preferred the walnut version. Then I dutifully froze both batches and whipped up a pasta dish for lunch from the remaining garlic scapes and a jar of last summer's roasted tomato sauce. I'm going to save the garlic scape pestos for dinner with company. The only trouble will be trying to decide whether to used it on pasta, or on pizza, or in a dish of scalloped potatoes, or whether it's better as a crudite dip. I think it could be bulked up and tamed at the same time with some bread crumbs and water for those garlic-shy folks. Me, I like the full bore stuff. But then, I've never lived in fear of vampires.

Other than that, I caught up on folding several loads of laundry, vacuumed, cleaned the kitchen and a pile of ziploc bags, and fed my worms. They seem to be doing well, but it's really hard to tell with worms. Then I caulked a few more windows around the house until my wrist complained.

I'm ready for some drier weather now. The second crop of parsnips needs to be planted, and there are still more onion family seedlings to set out. The fennel needs to be transplanted as well. If it doesn't stop raining soon, the funk may get some of those garden plants. If you've got more sunshine than you need, please send it my way...

9 comments:

Sue said...

Good luck with the sunshine thing!
I think there is a shortage of that this year. My northern garden is having a heck of a time this year-I doubt there will be any tomatoes or peppers with this chill.

livinginalocalzone said...

I have been eating garlic scapes like there is no tomorrow, and am perfectly happy doing it! Have you tried it as a puree with beans? Kind of like a deconstructed hummus.... it's been gracing my packed lunch at work all week. Delicious.

el said...

Hi Kate. Is this the first year you're growing these 5 particular types? The reason I ask is because it took me a few years (sorry!) before I found a garlic or three that kept all year. I really do think it's entirely dependent on place in re: how it grows AND stores. So, save the ones that look unsprouty for seed stock! And make sure they're really well cured before you store them.

And yeah, I like the scapes too.

Kate said...

Sue, I hope we both get some rays soon. But our weather forecast sure isn't promising much right now.

localzone, no, I haven't tried the deconstructed hummus. And unfortunately, all my scapes are now used up for this year. Next year! Thanks for the tip.

El, no, this is my second year growing these 6 varieties. Your suggestion for setting aside the unsprouty ones is good. But I don't know how to make that work for us. See, I choose the biggest and healthiest looking bulbs immediately after curing and set those aside for seed stock, apart from our stash-for-consumption. I don't think any of our garlic was sprouting in mid-October, when it was time to plant. But by mid-December most of what remained was getting that way. Also, I'm afraid that if I left the selection of seed stock until later in the year we might not have the discipline to refrain from eating all of a particular variety. I may have to go back to my seed source and just look for a particularly good storage variety. What varieties store well for you?

Rick said...

Loving the idea of galic scape pesto. And with a review like this I can't wait. And to think I just grilled them last year.

Kate said...

Rick, grilled garlic scapes sound divine! I bet they cook up much like grilled asparagus. Yum!

our friend Ben said...

Ha! Congratulations on the pesto, kate! I love garlic scapes, but haven't tried to make pesto out of them---I never have enough! But I was planning to make basil pesto today with some of my stored garlic from last year. My worm composter is going great guns now, too. It's almost as much fun as the chickens!

Kate said...

OFB, I'm amazed that you still have garlic from last year. I'm strategizing on ways of extending our garlic season. It just about kills me to pay for garlic from the store.

Joel said...

I've had good luck with sunflower seed pesto.

It isn't as good, but it's cheap, and it's the only variety that a friend with really bad allergies can tolerate...anything else would call for an epi-pen.