Garlic lovers rejoice when the plant sends up its seedhead called a scape.
It must be removed so the plants energy goes into making big bulbs.
The scape is a wonderful, seasonal delicacy which can be found at farmer's markets and in baskets delivered from Community Supported Agriculture programs or CSA's.
I've been at the market behind patrons who scratch their heads, and giggle when looking at the unknown, curved green stalks.
In my house the scapes are precious, my grown children are thrilled when I announce the scapes have been harvested.
One of my son's friends came over to pick up a few tomato plants. As we toured the garden I cut off a dozen scapes to send home to his young wife and little girl. He texted me an hour later, "I ate one of those scapes raw, he said, I'm afraid to talk to anyone." All I could do is laugh and warned him to figure something out before his wife got home.
The trick to being a garlic fanatic is to get your significant other and family hooked. You cancel each other out, it's when we get out into the real world that there's a problem.
There are two ways I love to prepare my scapes. The first is simple. The scapes are put into a large bowl, splashed with good olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Let them sit for a couple hours. They can be grilled using a seafood basket or broiled under high heat for a few minutes. They're ready when the scapes turn deep green and get tender.
Roasted scapes loose the intense garlic flavor and become sweet.
Here's a recipe for scape pesto, it's my family's favorite way to enjoy scapes. It's a seasonal treat I hope they will pass on to future generations.
The garlic bulb will be ready for harvest when more than 50 percent of the foliage turns brown. It's always better to harvest a little earlier than later. The bulb should have a nice papery white sheath around the outside. Wait too long and the bulb won't store as long. One more trick, keep the stalks attached to the bulb for the longest storage.
My favorite garlic quote comes from local artist Johno Prascak, "It would be a sad world without garlic." Yes it would!
Here's another he often says; "eat, drink and stink."