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7 Things to do with Garlic Scapes


What are Garlic Scapes?

Garlic Scapes: The Spicy, Green Vegetable That Is a Pesto Superstar.  

What are garlic scapes?

Garlic scapes are the long, curly shoots that grow from the base of the garlic plant. They are similar in appearance to chives or green beans. Garlic scapes are a member of the Allium family, which also includes onions, leeks, and shallots.  ​Garlic scapes are the young, tender shoots of the garlic plant. They are harvested before the garlic bulbs form, and they are a delicious and versatile vegetable. Garlic scapes can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. They are also a popular ingredient in pesto.

What do garlic scapes taste like?

Garlic scapes have a mild, garlicky flavor. They are slightly sweet and crunchy. Garlic scapes are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber.

How to cook garlic scapes

Garlic scapes can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. They are a popular ingredient in pesto.

To cook garlic scapes, you can sauté them in olive oil, steam them, or grill them. You can also add them to soups, stews, or stir-fries.

To pickle garlic scapes, you can follow a simple pickling recipe that uses vinegar, sugar, and spices.

How to store garlic scapes

Garlic scapes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. They can also be frozen for up to two months.

Garlic scapes are a delicious and versatile vegetable that is a great addition to any diet.

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 tiny, undivided bulbs, are produced in the umbule.  The scape looks like a garlic flower; however, the reproductive parts are for show only, and 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 the garlic scapes are allowed to grow and flourish, the scapes will stunt the growth of hardneck garlic bulbs by redirecting energy into the production of seeds (bulbils).  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.  Garlic scapes, if not removed, will continue to grow and get bigger, even after the garlic plant is removed from the soil and hung to cure and dry.

When are Garlic Scapes in Season?
These thin, green stalks are in season 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 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 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 powder.  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


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

You'll need wide-mouth glass mason jars, a stovetop, 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



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 sterilize 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 the refrigerator after the initial seal is broken.


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.


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. 


  • 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

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 and 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 and tender.
Transfer to a serving dish and squeeze over some fresh lemon. 



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


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.



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



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, and 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



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 that 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 alongside 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.  


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 stem 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.  

A Cute Story about Garlic Scapes


Once upon a time, there was a young farmer named Jack who lived in a small village. Jack was a hard worker, and he loved to grow his own food. One fall, a few weeks before the ground froze, Jack planted a field of hardneck garlic.  He purchased seed garlic from GroEat Farm in Montana and planted about 100 garlic cloves.  The next spring, after all the snow melted from his garden plot, the garlic grew well. 


Jack had read about garlic scapes that grew on the top of the maturing hardneck garlic plant.  He was excited to harvest the scapes and possibly use them for cooking?

One day in June, Jack went into the field to harvest the scapes from the tip of the hardneck garlic plant.


As he walked into the garlic field, he heard a voice.

"Hello," said the voice.

Jack looked up and saw a beautiful fairy standing in front of him.  She had long blonde, a beautiful complexion, and handmade clothing.

"Hello," said Jack. "Who are you?"

"I am the Fairy of the Scapes," said the fairy. "And I am here to help with the garlic scapes."

"Help me?" asked Jack. "How?"

"I will help you harvest the garlic scapes," said the fairy. "And I will also help you prepare the most amazing dip made from these fresh garlic scapes.  Your wife and kids will love dipping fresh vegetables and even crackers into this flavorful dip".

Jack was surprised. He had never met a fairy before, and he was not sure what to say.  "Thank you," he said finally. "I would appreciate that."

The fairy smiled. "You are welcome," she said. "And now, let us get to work."

The fairy and Jack worked together to harvest the green and delicate scapes from the maturing hardneck garlic plants. They worked quickly and efficiently snapping the scapes from the plant, Soon all of the scapes were in a handmade wicker basket.

"Thank you again," said Jack. "You have helped me a lot."

"You are welcome," said the fairy. "And now, let us use magic and prepare the delicious garlic scape dip!"

Together they walked back to Jack's kitchen.  The fairy started taking off her handmade clothes and Jack was surprised.   

"What are you doing? I'm a married man!"  Exclaimed Jack.  The fairy said she was warm and was only taking off her sweater.  Jack was relieved.

The fairy set up a blender in the kitchen plugged it into the electrical outlet and began telling Jack what she was going to do.  


She used her magic and opened a can of white butter beans and then pouring them into the blender.  She added a half-cup of vegetable oil.  She added about 10-15 fresh garlic scapes, which were cut into small pieces.   Using her magic hand and fingers, she grabbed a bright yellow lemon and freshly squeezed lemon juice into the blender.  Then Jack added a teaspoon of coarse sea salt and a dash of black pepper.


The fairy then added a cup of fresh parmesan cheese from the neighbor’s farm.  When Jack was not looking, just for a kiss of fairy dust, she added a pinch of sugar too.

"Where did you get those Butter Beans"? Jack asked.  The fairy echoed "These are from my own fairy pantry.  Instead, you could use cannellini beans.  They taste and blend as well as Butter Beans".

They worked carefully and gently, turning on the blender.  The blender made a beautiful humming noise, and in less than 3 minutes, all of the ingredients were blended into a beautiful, light brown dip.  The texture of a this scape dip was smooth and creamy. 

"Thank you again," said Jack. "You have helped me a lot."  Jack grabbed a handful of homemade cracker that his kids made, and he dipped one into the garlic scape dip.  "This is amazing.  Thank you!" Jack cried.  

"You are welcome," said the fairy. "And now, I must be going. But I will be back to help you again soon with the garlic harvest.  I hope your wife does not mind."  She put her clothes back on.  

The fairy smiled and then she disappeared. Jack watched her go, and then he turned back to his dip and crackers. He was happy to have the fairy's help, and he knew that she would be back to help him again soon.

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