You might have noticed that from about mid-May through June, everyone is talking about garlic scapes! Let’s take a look into where they come from and how to use them.
WHAT ARE GARLIC SCAPES?
Garlic scapes are the flower stalks of garlic plants. Specifically, the flower stalks from hard neck garlic plants. I consider them the first harvest from my garlic plants. The second harvest is the actual reward of the garlic bulbs!
Why remove the flower stalks?
To promote the growth of larger garlic bulbs, farmers and gardeners often make the decision to remove the stalks. The appearance and curving of the flower stalks act as a signal, to remove the garlic scape and let the garlic plant focus its energy into growing a bigger garlic bulb. The appearance of the garlic scape is also a sign that the harvest will be coming in a month or so.
A Worldwide Delicacy
Garlic scapes are considered a delicacy in many culinary cultures. They are highly valued for their unique flavor, versatility, and limited availability during the garlic harvest season. They bring a more mild or subtle taste, compared to garlic bulbs, which makes them prized for their flavor profile.
World perspective on Garlic Scapes
Asia: Garlic scapes have been around for a long time in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cuisine. They are commonly used in stir-fries, soups, pickles, and various traditional dishes.
Europe: In Europe, garlic scapes are used mainly in salads, sauces and pestos.
Middle East: You will find garlic scapes added in Middle Eastern stews, rice dishes, and dips.
North America: Garlic scapes have recently gained popularity in North America. They are celebrated for their mild, garlicky flavor and used in many ways in many dishes.
Popular Ways to Use Garlic Scapes
Garlic scape pesto is a condiment that can be used as a sauce, spread, or paste.
Check out my favorite garlic scape pesto recipe video on how to make this awesomely delicious pesto!
2. Grill it, Baby!
Grilling brings out the natural sweetness of garlic scapes with a hint of smoky flavor.
Here are a few approaches to grilling…
Whole Grilled Garlic Scapes: brush garlic scapes with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put on a preheated grill. Cook for a few minutes on each side until charred and tender.
Skewered Scapes: put your scapes onto skewers for easier way to handle them so they don’t fall apart. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turning until lightly charred and tender.
Wrap in Foil: take your scapes and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tightly wrap the foil and grill for 10-15 minutes, turning once in that time. Your scapes will come out tender and caramelized.
3. Stir Fry
A quick way to enjoy your scapes as a main dish is to add them to your stir-fries! Here a few different versions of my favorite stir-fry combinations…
4. Soups, Salads, and Dressings
What I love about the arrival of the garlic scapes season is that I can add them to my salads! Whether I add the diced version of fresh garlic scapes directly to my salad for some mild garlic flavor or put them into my dressing, scapes just add an extra layer of tasty goodness!
One of my favorite dressings is a Garlic Scape Vinaigrette. This vinaigrette can be used on salads, added to potato or macaroni salad, as a marinade for chicken, beef, pork (even shrimp), used on roasted vegetables, or as a replacement for cider vinegar in coleslaw.
Check out the recipe below!
Garlic Scape Vinaigrette
2 garlic scapes, roughly chopped.
¼ cup white wine vinegar (subs: champagne or red wine vinegar)
¼ cup of water
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard (sub: Honey Dijon)
3 teaspoons honey
¾ cup oil - extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil work well
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Place scapes in a blender along with water, salt, and vinegar. Process until the scapes are pulverized and very small pieces.
Add mustard, honey, and pepper and process again.
Drizzle the oil slowly until blended.
Make dressing a few hours before serving. Flavors will combine and taste fantastic!
There are several different ways you can preserve garlic scapes in order to enjoy them to last that much longer. For a longer shelf-life, freezing or drying is the way to go.
A great way to preserve garlic scapes is to freeze them. Frozen scapes can last in the freezer anywhere from 8-12 months. The longer they are in the freezer, the more the texture and flavor changes. Here is how to freeze them…
Remove the scape flowers and the hard fibrous parts of the stem.
Bring water to a boil and blanch(cook) the scapes for a minute or two.
Quickly put them in a bowl of ice water to cool them down and stop the cooking process.
Pat them dry and chop them into preferred lengths.
Freeze and store the scapes in freezer bags or containers.
You can dry your garlic scapes with a dehydrator or by air drying. Both methods will produce the same result with the dehydrator producing a faster result. If you choose a dehydrator, follow the directions on the process. If you choose to air dry, here are some tips on how
to do it!
Clean, rinse, and dry your scapes.
Trim off the flower and tough fibrous stem parts.
Gather together a loose bunch of scapes - tie twine or secure with a rubber band.
Hang upside down in a cool, well ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
Monitor the drying process: make sure they are drying properly-they will dry and become crispy as they lose moisture.
Drying time takes approximately 2-3 weeks depending on humidity.
Dried garlic scapes = they snap easily and feel brittle
Fermenting garlic scapes is a fantastic way to preserve them while infusing them with a special tangy, slightly sour, and complex flavor. Although the preservation period typically lasts a month or two, the process gives the garlic scapes a distinct taste that is truly unique.
Here is a basic recipe for fermentation...
Garlic Scape Fermentation
Brine (for 1 pint)
2 cups of garlic scapes
1 1/2 tsp of salt(non-iodized)
1 1/2 filtered water
2 Tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar
1. You can either dice them or leave them *whole.
2. Mix the salt, water, and apple cider vinegar in the bottom of the jar.
3. Add scapes to the jar.
4. Use a weight to keep the scapes below the brine, add more water if needed
to keep them submerged
5. Place the jar in a cool and dark place for 1-2 weeks.
The scapes will soften and become milder the longer they ferment.
6. Keep in the refrigerator to have them last longer
*If you leave garlic scapes whole, you will need more brine.
I love sharing my love for garlic and what I have learned over the years! Check out my "Know It To Grow It" YouTube Series on the topic of garlic!
Thanks for stopping by!
You can find more gardening information on my YouTube Channel:
“Kitchen Garden Expert” . Check out the latest video (click below)
Subscribe to my FREE monthly KGE “Gardening Tips” Newsletter...https://www.kitchengardenexpert.com
Check out my FREE Companion Planting Guide on my site https://www.kitchengardenexpert.com
AND... if you are new to gardening or need to brush up on the basics and more,
check out my eBook "Grow Your Garden: The Basics and Beyond".
"Until next time, have a FANTASTIC gardening day!"
#gardening #newblogpost #gardeningsteps #gardentotable #gardenkc #kitchengardenexpert #blogger #vlogger #author #speaker #garlic #preservation #fermentation #drying #dehydration #freezing #recipes #saladdressing #pesto #stirfry