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In this second installment on Growing Garlic, I’m going to share a fantastic Pickled Garlic Scapes recipe. In the first post, I gave an overview about the process involved with growing Garlic. Garlic is one of the easiest garden vegetables to grow!
Here in the Cariboo, the Garlic Scapes come on hot and heavy in early July. Since we have almost 300 garlic plants in the garden, we basically have almost 300 scapes!
Every garlic plant sends one scape up and if you want the largest garlic heads possible, you have to cut the scapes off.
The energy saved by not having the scape now goes into the bulb. This is a good thing. That makes the bulb grow BIGGER, which is what we want – the biggest, best bulbs we can grow.
Cooking Garlic Scapes
To cook the Scapes, just steam them for a few minutes if you like them still a bit crunchy or longer if you want to soften them. You can also lightly fry or grill them with a bit of sesame oil. Either way, they are delicious.
We can only eat so many Scapes fresh with dinner so I looked around for something else to do with them.
I found a recipe for pickling the scapes. I fiddled around with the ingredients and came up with this recipe.
Pickled Garlic Scapes Recipe
2 pounds garlic scapes
1/4 cup canning salt
2-1/2 cups vinegar
2-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
4 heads dill, divided
Pickling spice (optional)
Trim ends off the garlic scapes. Combine salt, vinegar and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil.
Pack scapes lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 head dill to each pint.
Ladle hot liquid over garlic scapes, leaving ¼” headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust two-piece caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
Yield: about four pints.
Since we had fresh Dill growing in the Garden, I added that, along with a few very Hot Red and Yellow Peppers.
But first things first – I went down to the Garden and cut off all the Scapes I could find before retiring to the Porch to get started.
I sat down with the bag of Scapes and first trimmed off just above the white bulb. Then I cut off the straight section of the Scape, leaving just the curled part. These went into separate bowls.
I’m going to use fresh Homegrown Dill heads along with fresh Homegrown Hot Peppers! They are going to add great zingy taste to these Pickled Garlic Scapes.
First, I need to get the water boiling as I need to sterilize the jars. Always sterilize your canning jars first when you are doing a boiling water bath!
Once the water is boiling (with enough water to fully cover the empty jars) I use tongs to submerse the jars and boil them for 10 minutes.
After cutting all the straight Scapes to a length to precisely fill the pint jars, I then cut the Curly Scapes into 2 or more pieces. These will go in separate jars.
At this point, I got the liquid mixture ready and put it on the stove to boil. I don’t like to do this too early in the process, as I find that it evaporates and I don’t have enough liquid to cover the Scapes in the jars.
Packing the Jars with Garlic Scapes for Canning
After the Scapes have had a good washing, I started packing them tightly into pint sized Mason jars.
I cut the Hot Peppers into slivers, and included one of each color in each jar. These should really pack a punch, because those Peppers are pretty Hot.
All this time, my canning seals and lids were sitting in scalding water waiting to be put on the jars. These are the Tattler lids and seals, which I love using.
I can easily recommend Tattler – using these lids and seals, you can get many many years of reuse from them. How nice not to have to buy new seals each year!
After filling the jars with Garlic Scapes, I poured the boiling liquid over top, leaving 1/4 inch of head space.
Before putting on the seal, I wipe each jar rim with a piece of clean paper towel. It’s important not to reuse the same portion of paper towel for the jars.
You don’t want to have lifted something off one jar, only to deposit it onto another. You want to make sure the rims are free of food and liquid.
Time now to set a seal on the top of each jar. Just center the rubber seal on the rim. Once the top is put on, the seal will stay in place.
I add the the lid, then screw on the metal band. Now here is where Tattler lids work differently than conventional canning seals and lids.
With the Tattler lids and seals, I need to screw the band on loosely and hold the lid in place with my finger while I finish tightening the band.
Then I need to turn the band BACK 1/4 inch. This is to allow the jars to vent while they are being processed.
Canning Pickled Garlic Scapes
Into the boiling hot water bath canner the jars go, and once the water is fully boiling, I set the timer for 15 minutes.
I need to add 5 minutes to the processing time, as I live at almost 3000 feet elevation. MAKE SURE you check your altitude before canning.
The elevation plays an important part of the canning process and you must be sure of how many minutes you need to process your food.
I often will have to remove water from the canner when I add the jars. You may need to as well, as the jar contents are heavier than the water.
You need enough water to cover the empty jars completely when sterilizing, but that may be too much water when you add the filled jars.
I keep a ladle and a large empty saucepan nearby so I can easily and safely remove some of the water while adding the filled jars.
After the 15 minutes are up, I use the canning tongs to remove the jars. I immediately tighten the metal bands on each jar.
Now I let the jars sit undisturbed for 24 hours. That means out of any drafts as well.
Then I wipe them down and put them away into the pantry or cold room. I can remove the metal bands now if I wish.
They serve no further purpose (sealed is sealed) and I can reuse the bands on other canning.
Right after I remove the band, I check the seal to ensure it is sealed. Just gently pick the jar up by the seal.
If the seal comes off, you can either put the jar into the fridge and use the contents within a week. You can also reprocess the jar in the boiling water bath.
Properly canned, these Pickled Garlic Scapes will last for years in your pantry.
Safe Home Canning
I have been canning food for well over 20 years. Canning is safe to do and safe to feed your family, but do NOT cut corners.
I cannot stress that enough. Do not go to all the trouble of preserving if you are not going to follow exact instructions.
They are in place for a reason – if you do not can safely and accurately, you run the risk of feeding your family spoiled food. This can cause very severe illness and even death. You can’t always smell the bacteria, so don’t rely on your nose!
Part 3 of Grow Garlic can be found here.
Now, start canning and filling your cupboard shelves with your own, freshly grown food. Water bath canning is easy, safe and can save you a lot of money. Do the work now while the harvest is here and you will enjoy that harvest right over Winter!
Looking for more Pickle Recipes?
How about trying some homemade pickled beets?
Pickled Asparagus Spears are great on a pickle plate or to add to a Caesar or Bloody Mary!
If you’ve got extra eggs on hand, try this Pickled Egg recipe.
Websites such as Simply Canning and Bernardin are great resources if you are new to canning.