What to do with garlic scapes - These simple and easy recipes will explain how to use and cook these fresh spring greens from your garden or the farmer's market.
I've posted a couple of recipes lately in which I used garlic scapes, and almost immediately, I got emails:
Garlic scapes? What are garlic scapes? Where do I buy them? Help!
I have to be honest. I never heard of garlic scapes before they came in our box from our CSA.
But they came several weeks in a row, so I had to figure out what to do with them.
Apparently, garlic scapes are the shoots that garlic bulbs send up as they're growing. Garlic bulbs want to become garlic plants, so they send up green things like onions do. The shoots get so long that they curl.
Farmers harvest these shoots so that the plant uses its energy to make a bigger bulb instead of making a bigger plant. That's how plants work.
Scapes appear about three weeks before garlic bulbs are ready to harvest, and that swollen bit near the end is the part that would become a flower if left on the plant. The plant is trying to flower and make seeds to make new garlic plants. Again, that's how plants work.
Garlic is planted in the fall and grows over the winter, so scapes are common springtime sights in CSA boxes and at farmer's markets. They are not frequently found in grocery stores.
Garlic scapes definitely taste like garlic, but the flavor is very mild and almost sweet. They're like garlic essence, without the bite you back quality of a clove of raw garlic.
Because they're so mild, you can use them raw or cook them. Like a green onion, you can slice them and use them to garnish an omelet or in a salad. However, the part between the swollen flower and the tip is often tough and fibrous, so you probably don't want to use that raw. It's okay to cook or use in purées, but it doesn't have a particularly nice texture for salads or garnishes.
If you love garlic like I do or if you like garlic but hate to smell for days, you should definitely look for garlic scapes.
50 Ways to Use Garlic Scapes
10 more easy ways to use garlic scapes
Remember, if you're using them raw, you will want to trim off and discard everything above (and including) the swollen flower part.
- Slice and add to any stir fry.
- Slice and add to any sauce, especially red or white spaghetti sauce.
- Slice and use as a garnish for anything savory - omelets, pasta, guacamole, salsa, meat. They go with just about everything.
- Chop and add to softened cream cheese.
- Chop and add to garlic bread.
- Chop and sprinkle on bruschetta or pizza.
- Slice or chop and throw into a green salad.
- Sauté until tender and add to mashed potatoes.
- Toss in olive oil and pressed garlic and grill them.
- Toss in olive oil and pressed garlic, sprinkle with grated Parmesan, and roast them in the oven.
Garlic scapes are a wonderful treat to enjoy in the late spring and early summer, and you'll wish that they were available all year round. Maybe you'll even take up growing garlic in your own yard! It's easy!