124-Eat Local and In Season

Spring has finally arrived and fresh vegetables are becoming available. In this episode we discuss what it means to eat seasonally. All vegetables are not available at the same time. Some foods are a treat and a delicacy, only available in Spring.

Right now, we have chive blossoms, tender salad blend lettuce, radishes and spring garlic.

Beginning Friday, May 29, 2020 we will h ave a produce stand open at the Farm on Fridays from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Produce will first come, first served. Scones will be available through pre-order only on the website. Orders are due by 3:00 PM on Thursdays. All of our other products: jam, balms, soaps, shampoo bars, etc. are also available online.

On June 6, 2020, we will start at the 18th Street Farmer’s Market in Charleston on Saturday mornings: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

We hope to see all of you soon.

Thanks for being awesome fans!

Donna, Julia and the Felines

P.S. Wondering what to do with spring garlic? Check out this post.

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.

Garlic Scapes

Did you know garlic plants provide much more than just the part that is commonly available in grocery stores? It’s true. There is more to this fragrant plant than what comes in the papery bulb.

What Are Garlic Scapes?

Garlic scapes are the tender end of the shoot in hard neck garlic varieties. As the plant grows in springtime, it sends up a shoot that is tender at first and later turns into a flower with bulbils. Those tiny bits of the flower are also edible, but the scape is the newly forming flower with it’s white end and the first 5-6 inches of tender shoot. 

When To Harvest.

When the shoot has a whitish end that looks like a bloom is starting to form, the scape is ready. The green part may be curled back on itself forming a curly que at the very top of the garlic plant. Snap off the shoot approximately 4-6 inches below the tip just as you would asparagus. The plant will snap off at it’s tender point. 

How To Use.

Now that you have these spring delicacies, it’s time to use them in the kitchen. Scapes taste like garlic. The flavor is lighter than garlic cloves but still clearly garlic. One option is to dice and stir into any dish where you would normally use garlic. Scapes may be sautéed as is and eaten as a vegetable. You can chop it for a garnish on lettuce salad, use to flavor pasta salad, fry with potatoes or use in any dish where garlic will add a complementary flavor.

As an added bonus, snapping off the scapes will divert the plant’s energy into bulb development. So not only does the gardener get a fresh taste of garlic in the spring, the fall harvest will be improved.

If you grow your own garlic, give scapes a try. If you don’t and are in the Charleston area, stop by the 18th Street Farmer’s Market this Saturday and pick up some from us.

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