I have been waiting for this harvest! Finally we have fresh flowers in our home again.
Although, my allergies don’t seem to feel the same way about these beautiful flowers, I love them just the same. Of course it could be the masses of Cottonwood floating around in the air. Here we have some Bachelor’s Buttons (aka Cornflowers), Sweet Peas, I believe the white ones are called Arachnia, which give off a strange smell.
Of course, we did get a bountiful vegetable harvest as well, including:
-Tat soi -Swiss Chard
-Pea shoots -Mizuna
-Lettuce -Garlic Scapes
I also got a basil plant from the garden club I volunteer with, that I will grow on my balcony. I hope it will be big enough by tomato season so I can enjoy the two together. One of my favourite food combinations.
What are they? Garlic scapes are the flower stalk of the garlic, and can be eaten! The curly stalks have a mild garlic taste and the texture is reminiscent of asparagus. They are only available for a short season in June, and are chopped off the plant to help the garlic bulbs get bigger. Good news for us, because they are delicious!
What is the nutritional value? Scapes are a member of the same plant family as garlic, leeks and onions: the allium family. So, eating the garlic scapes will offer the same nutritional benefits of increasing immunity, decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol and decreasing cancer risk, specifically in the lower gut. Garlic, through the organo-sulphur compound allicin is also known to have antioxidant and antibacterial properties, and has been shown to treat stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori.
How can you use them? I tend to chop them in green bean lengths or smaller and sauté them in some oil, salt and pepper. This time I included the beautiful peas to increase the volume of the dish. They can also be used raw in pestos/tapenade and salads, or cooked in pasta dishes.
For more information on garlic and immune boosting properties, check out my post on garlic.
For a Swiss Chard recipe, check out my Rainbow Chard Wraps.