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Garlic Scapes

Published on: June 9, 2019
Garlic Scapes often found at Farmer's Market Find

If you’ve been to a Farmers’ Market recently you may have noticed bunches of twisted green stalks in a basket and wondered what they are.  They look a bit like a scallion but are missing the white bulb at the end. They may have a little cone-like shape close to the top. 

This is a garlic scape. It is the top part of the garlic plant that is often cut off to allow all the energy to go to growing the bulb. According to “The Spruce” cutting the scape off allows more flavor to concentrate in the bulb while it continues to grow. Home gardeners and farmers know the delicious flavor found in the scapes and have made them a popular find at farmers’ markets this time of year.

The scape is a curly, light green part of the hardneck garlic plant that is bursting with flavor and nutritional value.

They have a flavor that is slightly mellower than a raw garlic clove but can still pack a potent bite when eaten raw. Cooked scapes have a milder flavor than raw and are a delicious addition to soups, stews, and sauces.

Like other green vegetables they are high in vitamins and antioxidants and are a delicious way to add a few more veggies to your meals 

5 things to do with garlic scapes

You can use scapes the same way you do scallions or garlic cloves or enjoy them on their own.  They add a nice flavor and touch of green to any dish.

  • Chop and add them to sauces, dips or pesto for a garlicky punch. 
  • Mince finely and mix with softened butter for a seasoned butter to add to vegetables or potatoes.
  • Brush them with olive oil and grill or roast them like asparagus or green beans.  Squirt some lemon juice on just before serving.
  • Chop finely and mix into a vinaigrette in place of garlic.
  • Pickle them! Add them to anything you are pickling or pickle them by themselves.  They’ll keep for about a month in your fridge. 

Other fun things to do with garlic scapes

  • Use them in flower arrangements. Their curly stems and interesting bulb make a fun addition to groups of flowers and greens.
  • Use the firmer, straight part as a skewer for vegetables or meat on the grill.
  • Make a bed of the scapes on the grill or in a roasting pan and place meat, fish or chicken on top and cook.

Scapes will keep wrapped loosely in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks. 

If you need to keep them longer than that they do freeze well.  Wash them well and cook quickly in boiling water for 1 minute.  Remove and plunge them into ice water to cool them quickly.  Place flat on a cookie sheet to dry and then place in the freezer until frozen, then wrap tightly in small bundles and place back in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

If you see bundles of these at your local farmers’ market pick some up and give them a try.  You won’t be disappointed in the flavor they add to your meals and their versatility. 

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Laura M. Ali, RD holding a bowl of pomegranate seeds

Hi! I’m Laura!

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