Signing up for a CSA box has made my summer so much better than usual. I love the weekly inspiration and impetus to do more. My bits of free time are precious and cooking makes me feel like myself. Leading up to giving birth, I had a lot of anxiety about losing interest in my passion and therefore my identity. Parenthood is all consuming and certainly world-shifting, but with care and support, you can still be who you are! Don’t get me wrong, I like to read about car seat safety as much as the next person, but I also have a firey intense need to get my hands dirty in the kitchen! Inspired by Sandor Katz and The Art of Fermentation, I try to have something fermenting somewhere in my apartment at all times. I try to bake once a month. I make a new recipe at least once a week. And I continue to occasionally pickle in vinegar, which brings us back around to my CSA box! The perfect opportunity to preserve the best that Ontario’s summer has to offer, really. That also means my sweet baby gets to try all that our farm has to offer and that makes me incredibly happy.
Garlic scapes are a mild, vegetal, and bright part of the garlic plant that comes up in late spring here (far right of the above picture). You can use them anywhere you use garlic. I had more than I knew what to do with, so I made a litre of fridge pickles. One jar for us, one jar for a friend; which is a pretty strict policy of mine when it comes to preserving. I would use these pickles chopped up in sandwiches (like chickpea salad!), on top of dal and maybe even as a fun addition to a coriander chutney. They do take six weeks in the fridge, so sorry these are not exactly seasonal anymore, but I have very little time so this is as good as it’s going to get for now.
~500 g scapes, cleaned up
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt, or pickling salt
2 tablespoons jaggery, or granulated sugar
1 tablespoon nigella seeds
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
10 – 12 curry leaves (optional)
~10 cm of ginger, peeled and diced
Green chilies, chopped and to taste
Clean and dry two pint jars. Divide the spices, curry leaves, ginger, and chilies evenly between the two jars. Coil the garlic scapes in the jars, packing as tightly as you possibly can. In a small pot, bring the vinegar, water, salt and jaggery just to a boil. Pour the vinegar mixture over the garlic scapes until they are covered. Depending how tightly you’ve packed the garlic scapes, you may have vinegar mixture leftover, which is fine. Label, screw lids on and tuck away into your fridge for six to eight weeks.
Notes: If you have access to fresh curry leaves, I urge you to take advantage! They add so much to tadkas. You can store them in the freezer. I’m actually growing two curryleaf plants this year; that’s how much I love them.
Some might say you should sterilize your jars before using them like this, but I really do follow the school of Sandor. Clean is good enough for me, though feel free to sterilize them if you’re more comfortable with that.