7 Things to do with Garlic Scapes

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Available for a Short Time Only!  Garlic scapes are precious.  Freshly-cut garlic scapes are only available for a short time each year.  Garlic scapes are perfectly edible and can be used to make delicious pesto, they can be fried or dried and used to make a delicious garlic-scape salt seasoning.   If you’re growing hardneck garlic (Allium sativum ophioscordon) in the United States, be sure to harvest the scape in June. Many gardeners don’t realize that the garlic scape is perfectly edible and delicious.  By removing the garlic scape, you help the garlic plant achieve a larger, plumper garlic bulb with larger cloves.

What are Garlic Scapes?

Garlic scapes are the stalks that grow from the bulbs of hardneck garlic plants. If left unharvested, the scapes eventually produce an umbel (this looks like a surveyor's plumb bob).  When the garlic plant fully matures, small, pea-size bulbils - which are are tiny, undivided bulbs, are produced in the umbule.

The scape looks like a garlic flower; however, the reproductive parts are for show only, there is no cross pollination. Essentially, the bulbils are clones of the mother plant that can be planted to produce a replica of this parent.  These garlic scapes, the tender stem and flower bud of the hardneck garlic, begin to grow straight out of the garlic bulb, then coil and have the appearance of a pig's tail.

If you do not cut the scape from the hardneck garlic plant, the hardneck garlic plant continues to develop a scape (flower stalk).  the plant produces an Umbel. The umbel (or flower) contains anywhere from 10 to 50 tiny pea-sized cloves called bulbils. These little bulbils can be eaten just like a clove of garlic, or planted.

When are Garlic Scapes in Season?
These thin, green stalks are in season in in the late spring and early summer. Because garlic farming is dependent on soil temperature, scapes start growing once spring arrives and the soil starts warming up. In most parts of the country, scapes are ready to be harvested in June and July.

Are Garlic Scapes Edible?

Garlic scapes are edible;  Scapes do not have that strong garlic flavor - instead they are sweeter and less fiery and more grassy than that of raw cloves.  Our taste buds claim that garlic scapes taste like a unique blend of chives, onion, shallot, scallion and garlic - with a less fiery and have a fresher, “greener” taste than the actual garlic bulbs. The texture is similar to that of asparagus.

 

They can last for years if frozen and can last for weeks when refrigerated.  Because garlic scapes have a fibrous texture, they can be minced or pureed for raw applications.  Pureed with olive oil, pumpkin seeds, walnuts or pine nuts, white beans and parmesan cheese they synthesize with other flavors to make a simple and delicious pesto.  This pesto can be made in 'bulk' and frozen for consumption in the winter. 

Seven (7) Things to do with Garlic Scapes

How do I eat them? What garlic scapes recipes can I use?  Scapes are very versatile and can be used in an assortment of recipes. Here are seven ideas on how to use garlic scapes.

1.  Dehydrated and Dried.  In simple terms, use a dehydrator and dry the scapes until they are rock hard.  Use a blender or mortar and pestle to transform the dried scapes into a fine powdered.  Add sea salt and use it as a seasoning.  Here are more detailed instructions:

a. Get Garlic Scapes.  A few pounds will do.   Also, you will need an electric dehydrator, and a blender, mortar and pestle or food processor to convert the dehydrated scapes into powder. 

b. Wash your scapes. Cut the scapes into 4-5" pieces so that they fit in the dehydrator. 


c. Place the garlic scapes onto the trays of your dehydrator and turn it on.  We set the temperature to 120 - 130 degrees fahrenheit, and allow the dehydration to proceed for 4-6 hours.   The garlic scapes are done when they are dry and brittle and hard.

 

d. Place the garlic scapes in a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle and convent the scapes into powder.  


e. Mix garlic scape powder with salt and/or other spices to make your own custom garlic scape spice blend.

 

f. Store your dried garlic scapes in a glass bottle

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2. Pickled Garlic Scapes.   Pickled garlic scapes have a wonderfully garlicky dilly bean flavor and have unique combination of a tasty pickle and garlic.  

You'll need wide-mouth glass mason jars, a stove top, and these Ingredients:


1 pound garlic spaces. 
1-2 teaspoons dill seed or a few bunches of fresh dill.
1/2 - 1 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 and 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 - 2 tablespoons pickling salt

1 - 2 tablespoons of sugar

Directions:  

 

a. Trim the ends of the scapes with a knife or scissors.  Feel free to keep the blossom end though cut off the more fabulous bigger end. 

b. Cut the scapes into lengths that will fit in your jars. 

c. Boil water and steralize the mason jars. Empty the hot water from the jar.

d. Pack the dill and black peppercorns in the jar. Pack the trimmed scapes into the jar.

e. Combine the vinegar, water and pickling salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Slowly pour the hot brine over the garlic scapes, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Once the jar is full, tap the jar lightly to dislodge any air bubbles. Check the headspace again and add more brine if necessary.

f.  Wipe the rim or the mason jar and place the lid and tighten with the ring.

g. Bath and process in a hot water bath for 10-30 minutes.

h. Cure  for at least a week before eating. Pickles will last for several weeks in refrigerator after initial seal is broken.

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3. Raw Garlic Scapes.  Freshly picked garlic scapes can be eaten raw.  Eat them or suck on their juice just after picking, or use them raw in pestos or dips.   Scapes also make a astatically pleasing addition to a flower bouquet, and they are delicious to eat! Scapes taste just like garlic, though they are a little sweeter and not as strong-flavored as garlic.   GROeat Farm.

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4. Sautéed.   Garlic scapes are delicious and can be added to a Stir fry or sautéed on their own.   Garlic scapes are packed with flavor. Unlike the garlic bulb, scapes have a sweeter flavor with an asparagus-like texture that makes them stand out compared to other greens. If you’ve never tried them before, try sautéed garlic scape recipes that showcase this stand-out vegetable.

One of our favorite recipes is to Sauté the garlic scapes with maple syrup and sunflower seeds.  Give this recipe a try and tweak it to your own taste.  Try adding bacon, raisins and apples too. 

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch of garlic scapes

1/2 cup of raisins and sunflower seeds

1/2 cup water
1 tb. unsalted butter and a splash or olive oil
small squirt of lemon

tablespoon of maple syrup (or honey)

teaspoon of soy sauce
salt & pepper


INSTRUCTIONS
Trim the ends and tips off of your garlic scapes. Cut into manageable pieces that will fit into a large skillet.
Over medium heat, warm the butter an olive oil.
Add your garlic scapes to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 3-5 minutes.

Add a 1/2 cup of water and cover with a lid. Continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes. 

Add the raisins and sunflower seeds.  Add the soy sauce and maple syrup or honey.
Your garlic scapes are finished when they are crisp tender.
Transfer to a serving dish and squeeze over some fresh lemon. 

 

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5.  Garlic Scape Pesto.  This is one our favorite things to do with garlic scapes, here at GROeat Farm.  www.GROeat.com    Garlic-scape Pesto is easy to make and captures a wide array of amazing flavors and textures.

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The movie star in this pesto recipe is the garlic scape.  The garlic scape is the garlic plant’s first offering: the garlic scape is available from hardneck garlic, about a month before the garlic bulb is harvested.

This pesto can also be used as an excellent base for a pizza.  Spread the pesto on the pizza crust, as you would a tomato sauce.  Add toppings and bake.

 

The ingredients for this pesto can be easy and straightforward or as complex as you want to make it.  We will share with you, one of our favorite recipes which incorporates (cooked) white beans,  sunflower seeds or pine nuts, and sour cream.   A food processor is a must for this recipe.

TIPS:  For pesto, ingredient order matters. Start with the scapes and process for about 30 seconds. Add the seeds until they are broken down and mixed well with the scapes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula for wandering bits.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 pound of fresh garlic scapes

1/2 can of white beans (Navy beans, Great Northern beans, Cannellini beans, or Baby Lima beans)

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

1/2 cup sunflower seeds (combine with pumpkin seeds, walnuts or pine nuts)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup of sour cream

pinch of salt and/or other seasonings

 

STEPS:

a.  Add Scapes and process for about 30 or more seconds. Add the seeds or nuts until they are broken down and mixed well with the scapes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add the white beans. 

b. Pour Olive Oil into the processor.  Process for a short 30 seconds or so.

c. Add grated parmesan cheese, process until the scapes and seeds smooth out.  Add lemon juice. 

d.  Add Sour Cream and salt.

6.  Scapes in salads in place of other pickles or gherkins

 

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Try adding small pieces of the garlic scape to your salad.  Use a knife or scissors to cut the scapes into tiny pieces, or roast or Sautee the garlic scapes first, prior to adding them to the salad.  

 

7. Roasted Garlic Scapes.  Garlic scapes can be roasted in the oven or on the grill.  

 

Grilled garlic scapes are one of our favorites at GROeat Farm.   Grilling is an easy way to prepare garlic scapes which preserves the natural flavor.   These grilled garlic scapes can be added to salads or eaten as-is.  Grilled garlic scapes make an appealing side dish right off the grill and cal be grilled along side of other vegetables such as carrots, carrots, and mushrooms.  Tender, smoky, and sweet, the best grilled garlic scapes, is tossed in olive oil with salt and pepper for the perfect, healthy 10-15 minute side dish.

Side dishes are the connectors of the dinner table, the unifiers that bring the meal together. And because there’s usually more than one side dish to your dinner menu, it’s a good idea to keep the recipes easy.  

RECIPE:


a. Wash the garlic scapes.  Rinse the garlic scapes under clean running water. Trim the ends and tips if they are brown.  Remove the lower stems ends and yellow tips.

b. Heat up the grill.  Preheat the grill to medium heat, about 400-435˚F.   Prepare by cleaning the grates well.

c. Coat  the garlic scapes in oil.  Place the garlic scapes in a bowl and pour extra virgin olive oil over the scapes.  Mix and toss with your hands until the scapes are evenly coated with the oil.

d. Grill the garlic scapes. Place the garlic scapes on the hot grill and cook until brown or charred, and then flip to grill the opposite side.

Garlic scapes are typically finished cooking when they are slightly charred on the outside and tender on the inside.  Plan about 5-6 minutes on each side.  A total of 10 minutes. 

e. Serve garlic scapes while they are still warm.  Provide a dip mixed with sour cream or cream cheese mixed with salt and pepper.  


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