what do you do with garlic scapes?

12 Jul

garlic scapes urbanpocketknife

First of all, what is a garlic scape?  A garlic scape is a long stalk that grows out of the center of the garlic plant.  At the top of this stalk is a bulb that would eventually grow into a flower.  Like all other plants, once it starts flowering, most of the energy of the plant goes towards the plant for reproduction purposes.

Farmers and gardeners cut off this garlic scape when it is still curly, young and tender enough to eat.  The reason?  Cutting of the bulb allows more of the energy to grow the garlic bulb in the ground…thus bigger garlic!

But the great thing is that garlic scapes are delicious!  The season is quite short, about 2-3 weeks in the spring so get ’em while they’re around at your local farmer’s market!  Klipper’s will have them for a couple of weeks at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market.  $5 for 5 bunches!

Garlic scapes are quite pungent when raw and has the same kick as raw garlic cloves.  When it cooked, it mellows out but still retains an awesome garlic flavour with a hint of green onion.  Cooked up it resembles asparagus in texture.

Here are 12 things you can do with garlic scapes:

1.  Make pesto!  Garlic scapes make excellent and very strong pesto!  Choose a good olive oil, a cheese, basil, salt and pepper and you’re good to go!  Try adding in some ground pine nuts or cashews to make it a creamy pesto.  Here’s a recipe

2.  Mince it very fine and add it to your mashed potatoes for a garlicky kick!

3.  Chop up into 2″ pieces, roast in oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper at 350 degrees  for 15-20 minutes, tossing half way.  The longer you roast them, the more caramelized it will get!

4.  Marinate and throw them whole on a bbq.  The will get crispy where charred and tender in the middle

5.  Chop it up and dry it in a dehydrator or low temp oven.  Grind in coffee grinder and you’ll have amazing green garlic scape powder to use as a seasoning!

6.  Take fancy long neck oil bottles and fill with good quality olive oil.  Stick a few whole scapes in them for decoration AND it flavours the oil!

7.  Pickle them!  Use your favourite dill pickle brine recipe and apply to garlic scapes….yum!

8.  Use in place of garlic or onion in any recipe.  Dice it up fine, sautee in oil until aromatic and throw in the rest of your veggies!

9.  Boil it to flavour water for your rice, potatoes or pasta!

10.  Add it to your chicken, veggie or beef stock to add great garlic flavour

11.  Making hamburgers from scratch?  Throw in some diced scapes for a different twist!

12.  Garlic scapes freezes well!  Besides freezing your pesto, you can also just cut them up and freeze them for future use

If you’re drowning in garlic scapes and don’t know what to do with them…leave a few out on a counter where it gets moderate air circulation.  No water, no soil and in a few weeks the energy from the cut scapes will go into the bud and grow you a nice garlic flower bud!  These are tasty and can be pickled or diced into potato salad

Got any other recipes for garlic scapes?  Share them here!

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