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

saticoy Apr 23, 2010 03:04 PM

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. n
    normalheightsfoodie RE: saticoy Apr 23, 2010 03:06 PM

    Could it be a leek?

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

    1. c
      CocoaNut RE: saticoy Apr 23, 2010 03:21 PM

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

      1. n
        Nyleve RE: saticoy Apr 23, 2010 03:23 PM

        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. s
          saticoy RE: saticoy Apr 23, 2010 03:38 PM

          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. s
            saticoy RE: saticoy Apr 23, 2010 03:43 PM

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

            1. firecooked RE: saticoy Apr 23, 2010 03:46 PM

              Is this really green garlic (young garlic plants)?

              1 Reply
              1. re: firecooked
                saticoy RE: firecooked Apr 23, 2010 04:18 PM

                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. TheHuntress RE: saticoy Apr 23, 2010 08:44 PM

                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. hannaone RE: saticoy Apr 24, 2010 01:12 AM

                  They could be garlic stems.


                  1. s
                    saticoy RE: saticoy Jun 5, 2010 04:16 PM

                    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
                      Beckyleach RE: saticoy Jun 5, 2010 09:36 PM

                      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
                        saticoy RE: Beckyleach Jun 6, 2010 03:38 PM

                        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. w
                      wineman3 RE: saticoy Jun 7, 2010 12:32 AM

                      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. c
                        crystaleyes125 RE: saticoy Jul 11, 2010 03:34 PM

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


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