Those of you who garden are probably very familiar with the garlic scapes that mature in the summer. If you are not a gardener, and have never lived with a gardener, than you might have met these odd spear like curlicues when they appeared in the food share with some confusion.
Garlic scapes are garlic flowers that were harvested right before blooming. Removing this bud helps the garlic root mature, since it is no longer spending its energy flowering. Some people will put scapes in a bouquet, but I prefer to eat them! You can use the scapes as a substitute for garlic, or as a tasty addition. I typically cook with both. They can be a side dish, or an ingredient in a larger recipe. I put mine in fried rice!
Yellow patty-pan squash
This one was new to me, but made a delightful addition to a breakfast hash! Sweet and quick softening, I would absolutely cook with this squash again. I even bought some seeds at the City Farm on Lombard!
They can be white, yellow, green, or mottled in color. They are summer squash with an edible skin–though if it is especially thick you will still want to remove it. It is less common than many other squash in the grocery store—if you see this, grab it, as it is not so easy to come by! You may be hard pressed to find a recipe for this, but any recipe calling for summer squash can be prepared using this too.
Produce for the People
Do you love these items and want more of them in your life? Then it may be time to start a garden! Some of the scapes and squash you have taken home and enjoyed this summer were quite possibly grown at the Johns Community Garden and donated through the city’s Produce for the People program. Learn more about how you can get involved in the Johns Community Garden here!
Kassia Rudd is a local gardener committed to furthering community and environmental health through sustainable food systems education and outreach.