Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

ponyexpress
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Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#1

Post: # 21913Unread post ponyexpress
Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:57 pm

My scapes are starting to come in. I'm trying a new technique this year where I slowly pull the scape out from the plant instead of cutting it. Supposedly this gives you more of the tasty portion of the scape.

Is anyone else doing this?
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#2

Post: # 21923Unread post Bower
Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:16 pm

I haven't done it, but only read about it. Let us know what you think, is it easy and worthwhile.
I find it really easy to snap the scapes with my fingers when they're the right tenderness to eat. True they sometimes grow out a bit more stem but I guess I haven't missed it... so many scapes! Pretty well more than we can eat.

How do you like your scapes, ponyexpress?
I like them best cut into 1 inch pieces and in a stir fry.
I tried scape pesto but didn't like it much. I like my pesto very hot with plenty of the real garlic, so I find the scapes too mild for that.
They are more like a green bean crunch when lightly fried with other vegs.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#3

Post: # 21927Unread post Sue_CT
Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:38 pm

I love the scapes in scrambles eggs. Cut them into small 1/4 pieces and saute in butter, then add the eggs and finish cooking. Still using the ones i froze from last year. I only have 8 plants this year because I waited too late to get many good sized cloves in the fall and my own crop last year was small.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#4

Post: # 21952Unread post Growing Coastal
Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:55 pm

Scapes cut whatever size you like to eat with rosemary on new potatoes is very nice.

I tried pulling scapes vs cutting them only once. The pulled plants top leaves folded and died back. I didn't think that was good. I know that other people regularly pull theirs and it does well.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#5

Post: # 21954Unread post ponyexpress
Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:02 pm

I tried the technique and yes, it makes a difference. It exposes the tender part of the scape such that you could actually eat some of it raw. It does require a bit of technique to extract the maximum amount of scape. If the bulb part of the scape is above the leaves by 3-4 inches, I'll grab it with one hand and slowly pull it upwards. Then I add the other hand and continue the pulling effort until it pops Hopefully you get a nice long piece that is very pliable and not stiff. It's very tender. It takes about 30 seconds to pull the scape out carefully so it's not a technique to do if you have large fields. I think I have ~300 bulbs planted.

If you're on Facebook, you could join the group "New England Vegetable Gardening USA" and search for scape to find my post with pictures. I'll see if I can post the pictures to this thread later.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#6

Post: # 21958Unread post Bower
Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:23 pm

The ones I snap are tender enough to eat raw (unless left too long).
I forgot the other thing we do with them is dice them up small to use raw in potato salad, bean salad, salsa or guacamole,etc.

Love the ideas of using in scrambled eggs and with rosemary on new potatoes. :)
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#7

Post: # 21960Unread post ponyexpress
Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:35 pm

Sorry for the picture that is on the side. The bottom photo shows the three scapes pulled by hand. If you get it early enough, it’s a nice pliable scape. When it starts to curl, it is more fibrous.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#8

Post: # 21968Unread post Sue_CT
Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:45 pm

I love the idea of putting them in potato salad, never thought of that. I bet they would be awesome chopped up fine like I do for eggs and put on a baked potato with sour cream. I am a little torn between harvesting them when they are still small and more tender or waiting until they get longer this year since I only have 8 plants. That means only 8 scapes for the next year, unless I buy some! Once they get woody they really aren't much good to me unless you are going use them to flavor something, like letting them soak in vinegar to make a flavored vinegar. Then they wouldn't need to be tender. But when you chop them up and saute them like I usually do that softens them and they don't need to be as tender as they would to eat them raw.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#9

Post: # 22059Unread post Bower
Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:03 pm

Wish I could send you some Sue. I always have too many.
I have always left them grow until they have at least one curl, because when you do snap em, if you do it too early it seems a waste the part that afterwards grows out. But there is definitely a point of no more tenderness you don't want to pass. I always start chopping at the stem end, and I can tell right away if it's tender or not. Sometimes have to discard the bottom part if it started to get tough.
It's strange that they're easier to pull when still younger.
Garlic never ceases to amaze me. ;)
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#10

Post: # 22061Unread post Sue_CT
Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:10 pm

I probably need to get out there and cut mine tomorrow. They went from the first shoots coming out to curling in 2-3 days! The place where I get my garlic for planting sells them, but I have never gotten there during the short period they are available until they sell out. Maybe this year. :) I have experienced the toughness you are talking about, one year I let some go too long and the ends were down right woody.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#11

Post: # 22066Unread post HL2601
Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:15 pm

If life is really busy when I go to cull the scapes I cut them and just put them in water. When I have a few minutes I chop them up into small pieces and put all in a freezer bag. They are excellent flavoring in soups, spaghetti sauce and my family loves them if I throw them in a crockpot of black beans that simmer for 6 hrs. Makes me feel better not to waste them and when time is tight it is nice to be able to pull them out of the freezer.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#12

Post: # 22071Unread post Bower
Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:46 pm

I have frozen a few but mostly eat them fresh and have them lying about fresh for as long as it lasts. Packing off bundles to my mom, bro and SIL, etc. They can get woody from lying around in a vegetable bin too. After awhile they're full of bulbils as well. :)
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#13

Post: # 22086Unread post Shule
Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:44 pm

I've just cut ours. They're pretty tasty, and they look nice on the plants.
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I like the leaves just as much, though, when they're tender (and/or cut into 1" pieces and blended up—in a blender—with canned tomatoes); they have a grassier flavor, though. I prefer the leaves to the cloves, too. It's not that they taste better, exactly, but they have a much longer harvest window, are easier to use, and don't give as much garlic breath. You can freeze them in a plastic bag without making everything in the freezer smell like garlic. They're easier to grow for use as greens, too. The tender leaves are good on pizza, as a topping; they remind me of artichokes when used that way.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#14

Post: # 22104Unread post ponyexpress
Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:10 am

Shule wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:44 pm
they have a grassier flavor, though. I prefer the leaves to the cloves, too. It's not that they taste better, exactly, but they have a much longer harvest window, are easier to use, and don't give as much garlic breath.
Never thought of eating the garlic leaves. Ate onion leaves with no issues but never garlic leaves. Will try.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#15

Post: # 22107Unread post rxkeith
Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:21 am

i snap my scapes with a quick twist while they are still in the curly stage. once they start to straighten they toughen up.
you can feel the difference with you fingers if you wait too long. we chop them, bag them and freeze them, use at will.
if i want bulbils to increase the crop or for mailing out to people, i leave a few scapes on.



keith
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#16

Post: # 22119Unread post WoodSprite
Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:14 am

This is the first time I've heard of pulling the scapes rather than cutting or bending to break them. I just pulled 24 German White Stiffneck scapes. It's going to take some practice to do it well every time. I have more to do of other varieties in the next few days.

I Googled to try to learn more about this technique and how it affects the rest of the plant but the only thing I can find is the web page that ponyexpress linked to. Has anyone seen mention of this technique elsewhere? I'd like to read about the pros and cons as far as plant health goes.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#17

Post: # 22132Unread post Sue_CT
Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:02 pm

I wonder if leaving the stem in the plant has any positive benefits, or if the pulling is more traumatic or leaves more place for bacteria or insects to enter. I would like to try it but I am a little afraid with the small number of plants i have this year.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#18

Post: # 23433Unread post JRinPA
Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:16 pm

I saw that page (from OP) a few years back. It sounded good, but I have been completely unable to pull any without them just breaking about at the exposed part. And then will usually grow out a bit without the head.

Sue, I left about 40% of my main bed with the scapes intact, all on the same side. I should be able to gather some insight on health/size/storage time aspects. I'll tell you what though, we had one fairly big rain, about 2...3 weeks back, with a good 3/4" of rain. I don't think I had the gauge out until after that. Some of my scapes actually damped off about 6" back from the tip. That's what it looks like. Some are narrowed/constricted/rotted and I think it must have been when that portion of the scape was just a few inches up from the ground, and then the leaves filled like a vase. I never noticed it before, but I have only been really watching this garlic closely for a few years.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#19

Post: # 23435Unread post Sue_CT
Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:24 am

I cut my scapes off, I have never left them on the plant intentionally, although I have accidentally missed a few. My concern about pulling instead of cutting is that it might leave a hollow area that fill with water like a vase as you described after the scape is pulled out. Or that it could be an entry way for insects or disease. When I cut my scapes I did try pulling a couple but they just broke off. I was not successful in removing one that way. I would love to see a video of someone doing it successfully to see their technique and what the remaining garlic plant looks like with the scape pulled out.
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Re: Harvesting Scapes - pulling vs cutting

#20

Post: # 23670Unread post JRinPA
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:50 am

Agreed, a video, and what type of garlic. I don't see how it could be done with mine. I would worry about that vase effect. What happened to some of mine this year was not on broken scapes, but must have happened just before the scapes were exiting the leaf wrap and before the scape was filling the gap at full diameter. EDIT Or maybe it was the water uptake that did it? It had been dry before that.
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