Garlic scapes are the curly green stalks that grow from the bulbs of garlic plants. If they are not harvested, they’ll eventually bloom into flowers. But that would channel some of the plant’s energy into the flowers instead of the plant’s bulbs. So farmers generally snip them off in order to allow for the plant’s energy to go into producing the most flavorful bulbs possible.
That’s what they do on Quarter Moon Farm, where Cindy and her helpers break off the garlic scapes from each organic garlic plant. This is laborious work, but well worth it. Not only does it help produce the most flavorful garlic bulbs, but garlic scapes are a bit of a delicacy in and of themselves!
Scapes can be found at farmer’s markets in late spring or early summer. Making pesto with garlic scapes is a seasonal treat! These greens have a fairly mild taste, but with a definitive garlic flavor. Scapes have been compared to chives or scallions. You can use them whole or chopped, raw or cooked. Chop them and add them raw to salads or other recipes, or use them as you would any other greens in a variety of recipes.
Here’s a simple and delicious recipe for garlic scapes–a quick and easy saute:
Easy Garlic Scapes Saute
- Wash scapes.
- Trim off the top of each scape, just below each flower head.
- Chop or keep whole, as desired.
- Heat a scant amount of olive oil in a pan.
- Toss in scapes, turning several times.
- Sprinkle with cracked pepper and salt, as desired.
Serve on the side of your meal, as you would with any green.