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Mystery farm stand purchase....help me identify it?!

I just brought something home from a farm stand...it was near a sign that said garlic scapes. I thought "garlic scapes, sounds great - I can check chowhound for ideas!" As I was reading the posts, it became apparent to me that the tender, curling scapes are NOT what I have. So, I'm going to try and describe what I DO have, and any help with identification and or cooking ideas would be very much appreciated!

These are straight, sturdy, cylindrical stalks about 1/4" to 1/2" in diameter. They are all around a foot tall, give or take, and towards the top they form a sort of bulb, and on top of the bulb they end up with like a little dunce cap coming to a point. The bulb-like area IS shaped like a garlic bulb in miniature, and when I broke one open, there are a bunch of little buds in there - like this thing might flower. I tasted the stalk, and it seemed more oniony than garlicky, and it was very VERY strong.

Any ideas? My camera is on the fritz or I would post a pic....thanks in advance for any thoughts!

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  1. Could it be a leek?

    This sounds obvious, have you called the stand where you got and asked them what it is/was.

    1. How about a shallot? Googling "shallot plant" and then selecting images, I found this: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgur...

      1. I think it actually is a garlic scape. Might be a variety that doesn't go curly on top. The rest of the description sounds like scapes to me. The flavour of scapes isn't really obviously garlic - it's just vaguely onionaceious.

        1. Thanks guys! Yeah, the thing is, the farmstand is open for another hour, and they usually don't answer their phone when they are manning the stand. I googled leek plants and it wasn't it.

          I really don't think this is a garlic scape - the bulb is much bigger than any of the images I found, and it is green with a reddish tint - most scapes I'm seeing are green and whitish, and the stalk continues curling out of the bulb don't end right away in a point.

          CocoaNut, I think you nailed it! Thanks for the link...when I poked around the other images there is one from a Russian farm of plants still in the field and with their poker straight, non-layered stems and that funny little duncecap on top of the bulb part I think I have some shallot stalks!

          Now....what to do...what to cook....

          1. Looks like people use shallot stalk in Indonesian and Philippine cooking as others might use scallions....sounds like a plan!

            1. Is this really green garlic (young garlic plants)?

              1 Reply
              1. re: firecooked

                Nope, I got some green garlic as well - I find that to be leek-like in appearance, and I've bought and cooked with it before (yum)! Your name give me an idea though - maybe I could grill some of these stalks and see what happens?

              2. Sounds like garlic shoots to me. Well what we would call garlic shoots in Australia. I used them in a Thai chow mein style dish and they were fantastic.

                  1. I just wanted to report back - I'm still not 100% sure, but this is funny. Two weeks after I worked with these, my husband went to the farm stand - he called me and asked if I would want something called "red garlic." Sure thing, I said! When he came home, he handed over shallots. So, I thought maybe my farmers are confused...sure enough, next week they had shallots on the table - nothing called red garlic. I'm getting that garlic, green garlic, elephant garlic, shallots, onions, spring onions and leeks all have certain qualities in common, so I will keep looking for curly scapes (probably next year) and enjoy the tasty treats I have access to!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: saticoy

                      Curly garlic scapes ONLY grow on hard neck garlic varieties....these kind grow up, eventually, with a tough, woody central stem that sticks out of all the garlic bulbs. Soft neck garlic--the kind you can see braided into ropes--doesn't have this central, hard core--and keeps longer, by the way--but you just don't get those wonderful, curly scapes.

                      My scapes are coming up and starting to curl right now, and I live in northern Iowa, if that gives you any idea of what you may be getting.

                      1. re: Beckyleach

                        Thanks beckyleach! I think we might be past scape time here in the blistering inferno of central Texas, but it is great to know for next year. Enjoy your harvest, thanks again!

                    2. check out wisegeek.com under garlic scapes and you can read all about them. The bulb at the top is the flower of the garlic.

                      1. What about this? It sounds like what you have with the red tint as well. They are spring garlic shoots.