As a child I helped my grandmother in the garden but I never took it upon myself to plant something on my own – That was, until I had to. October of 2016 is a time that I will always remember. It was the first time in my life that I independently planted a food crop. After watching several YouTube videos and speaking with more experienced gardeners, I decided to give it a try.
Halloween was around the corner and I figured the kids would love to help plant garlic if they knew it would keep the vampires away (don’t worry I made it clear that vampires don’t actually exist). Needless to say I had a little hands helping plant garlic cloves. During this whole garlic growing process I’ve realized that good things really do take time. I checked the garden week after week to see if anything sprouted. Once day, out of nowhere, I saw little green leaves which indicated that I successfully planted my first food crop. YAY!
Fast forward a couple of months and it’s June. My garlic crop started producing scapes.
Never heard of a scape? Me either until a month ago. Scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant. They start off growing somewhat straight like a regular garlic leaf and then they start curving in circles. By cutting off the scape you are asking the plant to send all of it’s energy in to increasing the bulb size, rather than in putting energy toward flowers and seed.
A lady that I work with informed me that the garlic scape is edible and delicious at that. I decided to try it out and make a garlic scape pesto with my 5th grade summer school group. Not only were the students going to taste garlic scape pesto but they were going to put it on a grilled cheese.
I broke the whole process up in to 5 different sections. By creating different stations, several students were able to participate in the process. The break down is as follows:
1. Harvest scapes and wash
2. Finely chop scopes and place in blender
3. Add olive oil and Parmesan to blender and pulverize to create pesto
4. Assemble grilled cheese sandwiches
5. Grill and deliver sandwiches.
The gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches were a hit! Several students even asked if the could take some garlic scapes home so they can make dinner for their family. I am a little bummed that these scapes aren’t available year round.