When I first learned about garlic scapes, I couldn’t believe my eyes, or my taste buds. I think I still feel the same way today. If you have garlic growing in your garden, it’s about this time that you will see the middle of the plant growing this long, curly thing – that’s the garlic scape, and the stem of the garlic’s flower.
Garlic scapes can be harvested when they look like the photos above: long, curly, and tender. If you wait too long they can become woody and are not as appetizing as earlier in the season. To harvest, you simply have to break the scape off of the garlic plant, just above where it comes out of the plant. It’s better to snap them off instead of pulling them. If you pull them, the part that is closest to the plant is generally more woody and it can damage the plant. Gently breaking them off is the way to go. The flower is also edible but is not tender like the scape is. Many say that harvesting the garlic scape makes your garlic grow bigger, as the plant is no longer sending energy to the scape and flower. It’s a win-win situation all around, you get a snack and bigger garlic bulbs!
Scapes can be used in cooking anywhere you would use garlic cloves and other alliums like chives. They can be sauteed with olive oil and added to pasta or other veggies, pickled, or they can be pureed into a garlic scape pesto, which is my favorite way! The opportunities are endless! Enjoy those scapes and let us know if you have any questions or recipes that you tried and enjoyed!