(E)scape from Food Waste
May 31, 2012, 8:33 PM
Filed under: Food Waste

Lord knows I try hard not to waste anything in my life-gas, energy, money, and especially food. I feed the chickens anything that’s still good that I think they’ll enjoy. I pour the liquid from canned beans and vegetables over Junie’s dry kibble.  I compost peels and trimmings or feed the worms things that are past their prime. I can, freeze and dry. We eat leftovers. I even save onion and celery tops and mushroom stems for making vegetable broth. And I always try to plan our main meal each day around whatever needs to be used up: tonight’s ‘Good Shepard’s Pie’ was a good example of this. I had some potatoes that we’d bought in a 50 lb box at the discount grocery back in very early March that were starting to shrivel, a cup of pinto beans left from another recipe, and some small broccoli side shoots that developed after the main head was harvested, all needing to be used. With a big bowl of leftover salad on the side, the pie is enough for two meals. For desert, I ate the final bit of vanilla yogurt that was in the frig, sprinkled with the first 6 blueberries of the season that were harvested just today.  But try as I might, there’s still occasional food waste.

As I’m cleaning up the kitchen after tonight’s supper, Michael came in from the garden with a bowl of garlic scapes. Harvesting the tops of garlic plants this time of year sends all of the sun’s energy to the bulb developing under the soil. For those of you that aren’t familiar with them, here’s a picture:

So now I’m trying to come up with ways to use these mild garlic-flavored ‘greens’. Last year I made pesto with them in place of basil. I tried cutting them up like onions and sautéed them in a bit of oil, adding them to different dishes, even to an omelette! I ate them raw like green onions, and also added them to  Chinese Fried Rice. Because I still have some shriveled potatoes left, (and because tomorrow is supposed to be much cooler-I don’t usually make soups during the summer months) I’ve decided to make a pot of potato soup and add some diced scapes to that. Since we try to grow enough garlic to last us a year, we have about a hundred garlic scapes to use up! I understand that some CSA farmers now offer scapes in their weekly box this time of year, and that chefs in those fancy New York eateries offer them as well. Keeping a sharp eye on food waste not only saves you money, but it’s also the ethically right thing to do. Children really are starving in China (and in Africa, India, Haiti, and many other places). Don’t let those scapes escape!

Have you tried scapes? If so, what’s your favorite way to use them? Please share your ideas below.


2 Comments so far
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I used up some garlic scapes yesterday to top a gluten-free pizza, along with sautéed peppers, onions & mushrooms. Use them anywhere you’d like a mild garlic flavor. Love your recipe ideas, Sam. Keep ’em coming!

Comment by overtlysimple

Bryan made a scape pesto last year too. I think he may freeze some ground up scape this year and add basil when it comes in, for a more traditional pesto. I’ve seen recipes for canning them like pickles, and sounded interesting, but we aren’t ready this year. Maybe next year. oooh, I bet you can use the scapes in the ‘garlic, chard, and potato soup’. Very good soup. Thanks for the blog…

Comment by Rosemary

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