Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pickled Habanero Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the buds of the garlic plant (just as capers are pickled flower buds). Be sure to include both the bud and the stem, which lend a mellow garlic flavor to Bloody Marys, fingerling potato salads, and charcuterie boards.

1 lb. fresh garlic scapes
3 habaneros (or jalapenos, for a subtler kick)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. dill seeds
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 recipe basic pickling brine

1. Wash and dry scapes, then wind them into bundles that comfortably stack into a quart-size canning jar.
2. Bring basic brine recipe to a boil, add habaneros, garlic, and whole spices, and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Pour hot brine mixture over scapes and seal jar tightly. Refrigerate for at least 1 week before using, and keep for up to one month. (See canning entry for long-term preservation method; process for 10 minutes.)

Basic pickling brine
Building on the basic pickling brine, you can create myriad varieties of pickles by adding whole spices and aromatics, such as hot peppers, citrus peels, and garlic.

1 Qt. white vinegar
1 cup water
6 Tbs. kosher or pickling salt (I use kosher because I prefer the flavor)