It’s been over 6 months since you’ve put your garlic in the ground. Maybe you’re tired of the patch of straw reserved for garlic that could be full of tomatoes right now. Don’t get discouraged!
Just about now, your garlic will form scapes - what is a garlic scape and why should you be excited? A garlic scape is the long, curly shoot sent from the top of the garlic leaves to hold the garlic flower. For our purposes, we want to cut the garlic scapes before they flower. This helps the plant redirect energy to forming a bulb rather than forming a flower and seeds. But that’s not the only reason we pluck off the scapes -- they’re delicious! Enjoy their garlic-y flavor raw, cooked, pickled, or grilled. Really, they’re delicious in anything.
Need some garlic scape inspiration? Try these:
Grilled or Roasted Scapes
One of the simplest and purest ways to enjoy garlic scapes is simply tossing them in olive oil, sea salt, and fresh pepper and throwing them on the grill or in a 400 degree oven until golden brown on the outside and just tender on the inside. Be sure to flip them halfway through to cook both sides. The garlic flavor is mild, sweet, and tangy - the perfect side for your Summer barbecues.
Sauteed Scapes with Lemon
Looking for something slightly more refined? Cut the scapes into 2 inch spears and toss into a pan over medium heat with a pat of butter. Sautee until bright green and just tender, add a splash of water (2 tablespoons or so should do) and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, top with sea salt, fresh pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Serve with fish or on top of rice.
Garlic Scape Pesto
Feeling like a garlic scape pro? Try making pesto to slather on your pasta or chicken.
1 cup garlic scapes, sliced crosswise (about 10 to 12 scapes)
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or walnuts
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup basil leaves
Juice of one lemon
Pulse the garlic scapes in a food processor for 15 seconds. Add ingredients in order, processing for another 15-30 seconds after adding each. Once everything has been added, process until pesto reaches desired consistency. If it’s too thick, add more olive oil. Add salt and additional lemon juice to taste.