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Apr 23, 2010 03:04 PM

Mystery farm stand me identify it?!

I just brought something home from a farm 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:

      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!