It’s June and suddenly there’s an abundance of garlic scapes in country kitchens needing to be used. “What are garlic scapes?” you ask.

As the days grow warmer, garlic bulbs planted in the fall, start to send up spiralling flower stems. The green, curly stalks are known as scapes and need to be snipped off in order to prevent the plant from blooming and sucking energy from the precious garlic bulb below.Garlic scapes

As you would expect, they taste garlicky, but with a fresher, ‘greener’ taste. They’re a great garlic stand-in and arrive just in time to save me from despair when the last of my winter storage garlic runs out and the new crop is not yet ready. Sounds good, but what is a person supposed to do with all these garlic scapes?

You can add them to soups, stews and sauces. Slice them into salads or sauté them as a quick addition to pasta, or stir-fry. Make a garlicky pesto or hummus. To preserve them, try pickling or fermenting the scapes. Essentially, you can use them anywhere you would use garlic. These flavorful shoots are simply too good to waste.

Garlic scapesA great tip that I learnt from my dear gardening friend, Cheryl, is to leave a couple of stems on the plants. The curly stem will gradually straighten before it forms a flower.  Once the stems are standing straight and tall above the plants, you know the garlic bulbs are ready to harvest.

Recipes using garlic scapes

Here are some of my favourite (and easy) ways to use garlic scapes. At this time of year there are also lots of fresh herbs available, such as basil, cilantro, parsley, thyme, oregano, and sage, so go ahead and have fun with the recipes by adding some of your favourite herbs.

I’d love to hear some of your recipes for using garlic scapes… I’m looking for a good pickling or fermenting recipe; if you know one that you don’t mind sharing, please share in the comments below. Thanks!

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Garlic Scape Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped garlic scapes
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp. sour cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired consistency. Add more oil if necessary.


Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 1 cup, chopped garlic scapes
  • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired consistency.  Add more oil if necessary.


Garlic Scape Hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons cumin (omit if adding herbs)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired consistency.  Adding more oil if necessary.


Garlic Scape, Spinach and Bacon Frittata.  For a vegetarian option, substitute the bacon with mushrooms. (serves 4)

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup garlic scapes, chopped
  • 8 slices smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 8 eggs, whisked
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs of choice
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar (optional)

Saute the scapes in the oil for a few minutes until softened. Remove from the heat. Fry the bacon until cooked.  Add the spinach and cook briefly to wilt the leaves. Mix the cooked scapes, bacon and spinach together with the herbs, salt & pepper and put the mixture into an ovenproof dish. Pour the whisked eggs over the mixture. Bake in the oven at 350F for 15 – 20 minutes until firm. If using cheese, sprinkle it on the top 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.


Garlic Scape Salad Dressing

  • 1 or 2 garlic scapes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey or maple syrup
  • herbs of choice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. greek yoghurt (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add a tablespoon of greek yoghurt for a creamier dressing.

See also:

The Stinking Rose a.k.a Garlic, to learn how to plant garlic.

It’s Garlic Time, to learn when and how to harvest garlic.