Time for Garlic Scapes!!!

June 22, 2023

By Anna Varriano

Garlic scapes are the vibrant, curly shoots that emerge from garlic plants, enticing us with their unique flavor and versatile culinary applications. These delightful green shoots add a visually appealing touch to any dish and also offer a range of health benefits. In this blog, I’ll share what garlic scapes are, when and why to harvest them (if you grow garlic!), show you how to harvest them (video time!), their nutritional value, and two easy and yummy recipes to make the most of these culinary gems.

What Are Garlic Scapes?

Garlic scapes are the flowering shoots that sprout from the stem of garlic plants. They typically appear in late spring or early summer, boasting a whimsical appearance with their long, curling stems. These scapes emerge from the garlic bulb and reach a height of about 10 to 15 inches, showcasing a vibrant green color. At the tip of each scape, you’ll find a bulbil or flower bud that can be removed before consumption.

When and How To Harvest

Knowing the optimal time to harvest garlic scapes is essential to ensure optimal flavor and tenderness. Typically, scapes are ready to be harvested when they have made one or two full loops or curls, but before the flower buds open. Harvesting the scapes helps redirect the plant’s energy towards bulb growth, leading to larger garlic bulbs during harvest time.

To harvest a garlic scape, look for its base, and carefully twist it clockwise until it breaks free from the plant or cut it off with a pairing knife or scissors. Ensure you don’t damage the plant while harvesting the scape so the garlic bulb will continue to grow until fully matured.

Here’s a video showing how I harvest my scapes!

Why Bother With Garlic Scapes?

Garlic scapes offer a wide array of nutrients, making them a healthy addition to your diet. They are a rich source of numerous nutrients, including beneficial compounds such as allicin, which has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Including garlic scapes in your meals can enhance both the flavor and the nutritional profile of your dishes! You can simply chop them up and use them as you would use spring onions in any dish, or you can get a bit more creative. There are loads of garlic scape recipes on the internet, but here are a couple to get you started! 

Two Easy and Delicious Garlic Scape Recipes

Garlic Scape Pesto
• 1 cup garlic scapes (chopped)
• 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
• 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, blend the garlic scapes, basil leaves, pine nuts (or walnuts), and Parmesan cheese until well combined. Slowly add the olive oil while the processor is running until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use this delicious pesto as you would any other!

Grilled Garlic Scapes
• Garlic scapes – as many as you’d like to serve per person
• Olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Toss the garlic scapes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the scapes for about 2-3 minutes per side, until they become tender and have slight grill marks on them (avoid charring/burning!). Remove from the grill and serve as a delightful side dish or use them as a topping for grilled meats and salads.



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