While I am not a huge fan of the taste of raw scapes (the curly green tops of garlic plants), I love them once they’re cooked a bit or, better yet, pickled in a pungent brine. Quick pickles are fun to make because you can prepare just a jar or two at a time and since they are stored in the refrigerator, you don’t have to process the jars in a hot water bath for safe longer term storage at room temperature. You can play around with the seasonings – adding sugar, for example – to suit your taste; I really like this simple combination of cider vinegar, salt and Chinese five spice blend. I think these pickles would be a great addition to lots of Asian dishes like Bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwiches) or even this yummy Asian salad with seared tuna.
Pickled scapes have a bold, bright flavour that will liven up all sorts of dishes. They’d be great on a charcuterie platter as well!
- 1.5 cups (375 mL) water
- 1.5 cups (375 mL) cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) coarse kosher salt
- 1 small bunch scapes, washed and trimmed of discoloured or withered bits
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) Chinese five-spice blend *
* in Ottawa, you can purchase excellent 5 spice blend at Cardamom and Cloves
- Wash and dry three 8 ounce (250 mL) canning jars.
- In a saucepan, combine the water, vinegar and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring, until salt is dissolved.
- While brine is heating, cut scapes into pieces approximately 2 – 3 inches in length. Pack the scapes tightly into the canning jars, sprinkling the five-spice powder into the jars as you do so.
- Pour the hot brine over the scapes in the jars, filling to within ¼ inch (.4 cm) of the top of the jar.
- With a clean finger or spoon, push back any scapes that are trying to leap out of the jar.
- Seal the jars with clean lids.
- Let cool for 30 minutes then refrigerate. The scapes will be ready to enjoy in 24 hours but should be consumed within the month.
Makes three 8 oz jars.