Imagine sitting next to a farmers’ field somewhere in the south of France and being served an early summer Niçoise salad. It’s too early for beans, but fleurs d’ail are in season. They are succulent, salty and garlicky. Softened, not by cooking, but from a few weeks of fermentation.
What are fleur d’ail or garlic scapes?
Garlic scapes are the budding flower that comes just before the head of garlic is ready to harvest. It’s not something you would find in your average grocery store, but if you aren’t a gardener, you may be able to find them at your local farmers’ market in the months of May, June and July.
The whole curling stem is delicious, with a mild garlic flavour and an asparagus or green bean-like crunch. If not harvested in the budding stage, a scape will bloom with a bright purple flower.
Pickled Garlic Scapes
Pickled garlic scapes are succulent, salty and deliciously garlicky. They are delicious on pasta, with a Nicoise salad or served with crackers and cheese.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 quart jar 1x
- Category: Pickles
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: French
- 2 cups of garlic scapes (or as many as you can find)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water (chlorine free)
- 2 tbsp starter culture (see notes)
- Dice the garlic scapes stems into bite-sized bits. You can either keep the curls whole or dice them as well. If you are keeping the curls whole, nest them together and pack them into the jar then add the diced sections. Keeping the curls whole will require a bit more brine.
- Mix the salt, water and starter culture. Pour over top of the scapes. Use a weight to keep the scapes below the brine, and add more water if required to keep the scapes submerged.
- Ferment somewhere cool and out of sunlight for 1-2 weeks (depending on taste).
- Read up on how to ferment to avoid making a mistake with this very special crop.
- I usually use kefir whey as my starter, but you could also use sauerkraut juice or a purchased vegetable starter. This is really just an insurance policy to make sure that the ferment goes well, as it is possible to ferment without a starter.
- I usually ferment in a fido. You could also use a mason jar with a pickle-nipple lid. Or if you want to go low tech, just cover your ferment with a clean cloth.
- I have to give credit to a local fermenting maven for inspiring me to ferment my scapes.
Keywords: garlic scapes, summer, spring, June, probiotic, vegan, keto, paleo, whole 30, gluten free, diary free, egg free, nut free