about Garlic and Garlic scapes

A garlic scape is the flower stalk that rises through the leafy portion of the hardneck garlic plant. The scape curls into a tight coil as it grows and develops a seed pod called an “umbel” at the top of the stalk.

The scape is picked prior to flowering while firm yet tender so the clove will continue to grow larger.

Fresh garlic scapes are great when added to spaghetti sauce, salsa, pesto and omlets. By pickling the scape you get to enjoy the unique taste year round.

  • "We love to sautee the scapes in a light olive oil and serve them as our vegetable. Other times we make a zesty scape sauce to liven up a chicken or fish dish."

At Mill Creek Farm we tame the curly stalked scape by canning it with liquid, peppers and spices. Enjoy them straight out of the jar.

  • Find out more about creative uses of our pickled garlic scapes here.
  • Find out more about our family of fine products here.

Culinary use of garlic scapes
Immature scapes are tender and edible. They are also known as 'garlic spears', 'stems', or 'tops'. Scapes generally have a milder taste than cloves. They are often used in stir frying or prepared like asparagus.

Garlic scapes are pencil thin and exuberantly loopy, and emanate a clean and mildly garlicky scent. At the top of each is a tightly closed but bulging bud. Since the scapes resemble extra-long green beans, you can treat them as such, cutting them into two-inch lengths, blanching them and tossing them with a lemony vinaigrette.

They have a gently spicy undertone and an exquisitely fresh green, mellow taste. Unlike regular garlic, which needs some kind of vehicle to carry its intense flavor to the mouth, scapes are self-sufficient; vegetable and aromatic all in one. Use them in salads, soups, dressings, dips, sautés and pesto. Even a breakfast of toasted baguette with butter is infinitely improved by a topping of thinly sliced raw green garlic sprinkled with crunchy sea salt and fresh thyme leaves. Another bonus of green garlic: Because it's uncured (not dried), there's no papery skin. After trimming the roots and tops, all you need to do is peel off the outermost layer of the bulb.

Health benefits of garlic
Garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years, dating as far back as the time that the Egyptian pyramids were built. Garlic is claimed to help prevent heart disease including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer.

Where did Garlic Originate?
Horticulturists argue a lot about this one. But one of the better theories is that wild garlic was first domesticated in the Kirgiz desert of southern Siberia. It certainly grows there. People tend to think of garlic as a warm weather plant. In fact many varieties don't do well unless they experience cold winter weather (like tulips and daffodils). Many varieties produce hotter bulbs after colder winters. So Siberians could grow garlic and during the last century they were allowed to pay their taxes with garlic.

Did Ancient Peoples such as the Egyptians Use Garlic?
In large quantities. The builders of the pyramids were often paid in fresh garlic, in part to maintain their strength and stamina. Garlic was found in King Tutankhamen's tomb. Egyptian men were reputed to chew on a clove after a night of dalliance lest their wives get a whiff of their rival's perfume. Egyptian medical manuals from 1500 BC list almost two dozen treatments using garlic.
Back to questions

Where was Garlic First Domesticated?
There is evidence that garlic was placed in ancient Egyptian tombs as early as 5000 years ago. There are numerous references to garlic in Chinese literature as far back as 2000 BC. Chinese sacrificial lambs were spiced with garlic to make them more appealing to the gods. You can find garlic praised in ancient Sanskrit writings. By 1500 BC, garlic was old hat, having spread to virtually every civilization in Europe, Asia and North Africa.

What are the health-promoting chemicals in garlic?
Aside from being low in calories at well under 10 calories per clove, being low in fat and having no cholesterol, the garlic clove may be a veritable medicine cabinet of beneficial compounds. In 1858 none other than Louis Pasteur noted the antiseptic properties of garlic. In the 1940s, a Nobel Prize winning chemist by the name of Dr. Arthur Stoll discovered the compound allicin which he felt was key in garlic's bacterial battling capabilities. As a clove is crushed or sliced the enzyme allinase triggers a series of complex chemical reactions. One of the resulting chemicals, allicin, is generally regarded as one of the key players in garlic medicine. Other substances such as adenosine and ajoene also may be of great significance. This is an area of very active research and new findings are being released almost daily.

What Ailments Has Garlic Been Claimed to Prevent and Correct?
There are numerous medical claims about the benefits of garlic. The claims range from highly controlled clinical studies all the way to borderline quackery. But there is little doubt that garlic has many therapeutic properties and nutritional science is gradually beginning to sort out the benefits. Among the ailments that garlic has been proposed to alleviate to one degree or another are: acne, asthma, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, dysentery, baldness, arthritis, cancer, earache, eczema, emphysema, digestive disorders, heavy metal poisoning, infections, intestinal worms, insomnia, colds, influenza, allergies, toothache, warts and vampires. Ancient Romans were reputed to use a paste of crushed garlic to try to cure hemorrhoids. During the Black Death in Europe some doctors stuffed garlic cloves into their face masks to help ward off the plague. Even during World War I, in the pre-antibiotic era, garlic juice was widely and effectively used as an antiseptic on the wounds of Allied soldiers.

Does Garlic Lower Cholesterol?
A number of medical studies have pointed towards garlic being "the aspirin of the 90s". It has been reputed to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol as well as sporting anti-microbial and anti-carcinogenic properties. The director of the world famous cardiac health project, the Framingham Study, includes garlic in his listing of foods that may contribute to the prevention of heart disease.

Do Cultures that Consume Large Amounts of Garlic Enjoy Greater Health?
Separating out the impact of a single food on the health of a population is a very difficult scientific task. High garlic consumption has been claimed to be one reason there is relatively less heart disease in China. But there are a multitude of other influences. There is one famous study, however, of an Indian religious cult, the Jains. The members of one branch ate copious quantities of onions and garlic (over a pound of onions plus 17 cloves) each week. As a group they enjoyed low levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides. A more orthodox branch of Jains, who never ate onions or garlic, had significantly higher cholesterol and triglycerides. This may not be news. According to Jean Carper, the popular nutrition writer, Indian doctors prescribed garlic as a heart disease preventative almost 2000 years ago.

Nutritional values of garlic
Garlic (edible parts)
Nutritional value per 100 g
Energy 150 kcal 620 kJ
Carbohydrates 33 g
Fat 0.5 g
Protein 6 g
Water 59 g
Vitamin B6 1.2 mg 92%

Percentages are relative to US RDI values for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
Luke's has been featured in this "hot" magazine for the tastebuds. Read this and other articles featuring garlic here.

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