Garlic Scapes: What to do with this mysterious vegetable!

Garlic what? What in the world is a "scape"?

I get this question often this time of year. Maybe you've been wandering around the Farmer's Market and wondered what those crazy green curly-que thingies are. Or perhaps you've even noticed them in your garden!

A "garlic scape" is actually the garlic plant sending up a flower (it's a long stem with a blossom on the end). Garlic is a biennial, which is a name for a plant that flowers in it's second year. Garlic cloves are usually planted in the fall (plant around the same time you would put in tulip bulbs), then harvested the following summer.


In order to grow the best garlic, you need to remove the scapes so the plant puts it's energy into producing a large bulb at the base, instead of flowering.

Here is the good news! Garlic scapes are edible and delicious. It's like you're getting 2 harvest from one plant!

Check out the video below to learn more about growing garlic and harvesting the scapes.

Ok, so now that you have you scapes picked, what do you do with them?

There are several options, including pickling, chopping and freezing, using them for garnish, pureeing into soup... but my favorite way to use them is to make a batch of Garlic Scape Pesto. The pesto has a wonderful garlicky flavor that compliments so many foods.

My daughter and I will show you how quick and easy it is!

Garlic Scape Pesto is fantastic in a variety of dishes and preparations, such as:

  • Pasta
  • Frittata or quiche
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Fish
  • On toast or crackers
  • Soup
  • Pasta sauce
  • Pizza
  • Marinades

Here is the recipe we use. Feel free to alter it to your taste. Some people even like to add herbs, like parsley or basil to the mix. Enjoy!

 

GARLIC SCAPE PESTO - Makes about 1 cup of pesto

  • 3/4 to 1 cup roughly chopped garlic scapes (about 1/4 lb of scapes)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano - Reggiano cheese (or any other hard cheese)
  1. Combine the scapes, nuts, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until finely chopped.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil while the food processor is running.
  3. Stir in cheese (if using).
  4. Store in the fridge for about 1 week.

*The pesto freezes beautifully in ice cube trays. If you plan on freezing the pesto, leave out the cheese. You can add cheese after you have thawed the pesto cubes.