5 Ways To Cook With Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are one of those food items that you’ll only find at farmers’ markets. They’ll appear in late May to early June around central Ohio.

The garlic scape is the edible stalk of a hardneck garlic plant. Only hardneck garlic will produce a scape, not softneck. We remove that flowering stalk to divert more of the plant’s energy into the underground garlic bulb that will be harvested in mid-July. 

As a side note, there are hundreds of different varieties of both hardneck and softneck garlic. Generally, the hardneck varieties have a spicier flavor. In the mass-produced grocery stores, you’ll only find softneck because it can be stored for up to a year or more. Hardneck can generally only be stored for about 6 months before it begins to sprout. But I digress.

If you are growing your own hardneck garlic, you may want to remove the scapes too. We cut them with a knife right at the base of the scape where it meets the leaves. We’ve also heard that some farmers prefer to pull the scape from the plants. We’ve tried that, but it is more time-consuming and occasionally, we have pulled the entire garlic plant up from the ground, bulb and all. Not what we want to do yet!

When using the scape, I prefer to remove and discard the flowering tip of the scape. It tends to be more fibrous and it leaves my pesto with a stringy texture the first time I didn’t remove the bulbous tip.


Ways To Use Garlic Scapes

  1. Chopped and added to a stir-fry
  2. Cut into 3-inch long pieces and grilled or sauteed like fresh asparagus or green beans. We eat this all by itself as a side dish or snack.
  3. Substitute for all or part of the basil in a pesto recipe.
  4. Chopped and added to scrambled eggs.
  5. Make pickled garlic scapes so we can enjoy them longer than just in June.

If you have another favorite way to cook with garlic scapes, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment here to let me know! Thanks for reading!


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