Spring Garlic—What Is It And How To Use It

Spring Garlic is similar to green onions in appearance, but with a mild garlic flavor. As a bonus, they are prolific growers, so you can have these year after year.

I’m always looking for a new food to try in the kitchen. It’s even better when I can experiement with a locally grown ingredient that is inexpensive and abundant.

Enter Spring Garlic

First what is it?

Some refer to this as wild garlic, although we grow a row on purpose. It comes back every year and in fact multiplies if we don’t keep it under control. This garlic does not produce large bulbs like you will find on cultivated garlic, but it is still quite delicious. There are several parts of this plant I use at different times of the year.

Parts to use

Spring garlic does not produce large root bulbs, so don’t expect to use this for cloves of garlic. Instead, in the early spring, it is used like green onions, except with the taste of garlic. Later, as it prepares to flower, the end of the flower stalk can be snapped off and cooked. These are referred to as scapes. (This post gives more information about using those.)

After a week or so of growth beyond the scape stage, you can harvest bulbils. These occur just before the bud begins to break open into a flower and provide another tasty option. Pick the flower bud, peel back the thin covering and separate the tiny bulbs. These give a delicious pop of garlic flavor in any dish.

Early stalk use

The rest of this post will describe how to use the early part that looks like a green onion.

Harvest when the bottom is just beginning to swell and the green shoots are about one to two feet tall. While you are harvesting for the table, you are also thinning out the crop to allow the remaining plants to grow and thrive. Trim the root ends and peel back the outer layer of more fibrous covering. Wash thoroughly to remove any remaining dirt particles.

Slice thinly just up to where the stalk begins to turn green. Send the remainder to the compost pile.

Use as you would in place of garlic. Beware, this will smell very strong but the flavor is quite light.

Sample Menu

For an entirely garlic themed meal, I used thinly sliced pieces in a lemon and olive oil sauce for pasta. Then, I minced the remaining pieces, mixed with butter and topped italian seasoned scones. Pair with a crisp green salad. Delicious.

For more cooking ideas like this, check out my cooking memoir Simply Delicious. Plus follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media for daily Five Feline Farm updates.

Getting Out of a Cooking Rut

I’m in a food rut again.

Making the same 5 or 6 meals over and over. When it comes time for lunch or supper (yes, we eat supper in the evening, not dinner, but that is a topic for another post), I struggle to come up with something new.

Remember the movie Julie and Julia? It is one of my favorites.

A woman named Julie is stuck as a low-level bureaucrat and in a rut. She is in more than just food rut, more like a life rut. Anyway, she determines that she will cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blog about her experience. She gains attention and fame, then ultimately a book and movie deal. The movie explores both her experience and Julia Child’s life while writing the book.

I am not going to do all that. Plus, it has already been done. However, over the next week, I intend to explore some of the recipes from both Volume 1 and 2 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There will be old favorites and some that I have not tried before.

Adopting a “theme” of Julia Child for the week will surely get me out of this rut.

The first dish from Julia Child week was Supremes de Volaille Archiduc which translated from the French is Chicken Breasts with Paprika, Onions, and Cream. The sauce is the highlight of this dish…warm, creamy and rich. It was easy and relatively quick to make. The main thing that slowed me down was reading and re-reading the recipe to make sure I had everything right.

I can also report the leftover chicken made an excellent chicken salad; finely chopped, mixed with celery, a bit of leftover Caprese salad and mayo.

As I continue through this theme, I anticipate making croissants at some point. Those take 11 – 12 hours from start to finish, so definitely a “plan-in-advance” kind of item.

In the meantime, I think I’ll make a trip to the butcher to get rump roast for Boeuf Bourguignon. Oh yum!

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Making Sourdough Bread, Part 2

A follow up to last week’s description of sourdough bread trials.

Last week’s post chronicled the first part of my sourdough bread trials. Today the story continues…

Experiment loaf number 3 followed a tried and true recipe from King Arthur Flour. I only wanted to make one small change: convert from a two loaf size recipe to one. Easy enough.

Except for one thing.

I got distracted and added twice as much flour as needed during the second step.

Another fail.

At long last I confessed my difficulties to my bread making friend and guru, whom I now refer to as The Bread Doctor. We talked of the bread making process for over an hour. He is far beyond my capabilities and understands the science behind how a good loaf of bread is born.

He asked for step by step information. What flour am I using? How long am I allowing between each step? How hot is the oven? I described my varied efforts.

He diagnosed the problem.

It is the starter.

I have not fed my starter adequately. I starved the poor thing.

Dr. Bread issued a prescription. Give the starter a good meal of pure whole wheat flour and water.

Back to the kitchen with apologies, I ground some hard winter wheat berries so the flour would be fresh and full of nutrients. Add 50 grams of bottled, room temperature water, then add 50 grams of my freshly ground whole wheat flour. After a night on the counter, the starter rewarded me with a bubbly, active existence.

With a bit of trepidation, but full of hope I started another loaf. This doug had a better texture than the previous attempts and produced a beautiful rise. I crossed my fingers and waited for the oven and the stone to thoroughly preheat.

Only one hurdle between me and a nice loaf of sourdough bread. Turning out the loaf from the basket. Sometimes, if the rising basket is not adequately floured, the dough will stick.


One corner stuck and I had to shake it out. Thankfully it did not deflate entirely. 40 minutes later, a beautiful, only slightly flat loaf was ready.

I could not wait for it to cool more than 15 minutes. It was piping hot when sliced. I know it should cool entirely before slicing. But that aroma!

The flavor was deliciously tangy. The crumb was creamy, the crust was chewy.


Thank you Dr. Bread!

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Making Sourdough Bread, Part 1

Bread is often referred to as the staff of life. It is one of our oldest foods, dating back to the time when people discovered grinding grain into flour, mixing that flour with water and baking it into a palatable mass. Not only is bread an old food, it is the base for many a meal in many a culture. 

Our friend makes us bread. It is always wonderful. He gifts not only the efforts from his kitchen, but somehow in this giving of bread, he shares himself. Other friends have also brought bread to us when the Mercantile is open. Fresh, wrapped in a tea towel, still warm from the oven. They too shared of themselves. 

I want to make this kind of bread. The kind that shares more than just the physical nourishment, but adds encouragement.

My recent efforts have focused on sourdough bread. At the Mother Earth News Fair in Topeka, I attended several workshops about flour, gluten, bread and even a hands-on workshop where I walked away with my very own sourdough starter.

“It’s easy.” the presenter said. 

“Hard to go wrong.” she commented. 

“Very forgiving.” she instructed.

I came home, fed the starter and stirred up my first loaf of sourdough.

“Liar.” I said aloud, intending my comments for the Topeka presenter, even though she is at this moment thousands of miles away. 

Not a total loaf failure; my bread had a delicious flavor, but it was a flat, hard-crusted specimen. I thought I knew what went wrong. Too much water in the dough led to an extremely slack dough that would not hold it’s shape after rising. It spread out in the oven into a low mass that when sliced resembled something like biscotti. 

Time to try again.

The sourdough instructor suggested dipping one’s hand in water when kneading the dough instead of sprinkling with flour. That made sense to me. I have a tendency to work in too much flour because I have little tolerance for the sticky dough when I’m kneading. 

It’s time to get over that intolerance. This time I lightly sprinkled flour instead of using the water. It was still a very soft dough but felt much more likely to hold it’s shape. I prayed this loaf would turn out better. 

It did not. I turned out another tough, hard loaf. 

My comments this time contained words that do not bear repeating. 

I want to make sourdough bread.

Why am I so determined?

I like that sourdough tends to keep longer than other yeasted breads that do not contain oil or butter. I like having a simple flour, yeast (or starter), water and salt bread. I love the flavor. I want to know I can do it.

The saga of my quest to make a good sourdough loaf continues next week. 

In the meantime, follow all of the antics here at Five Feline Farm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you can’t make it to the onsite Mercantile here at the Farm, our on line store is always open.