Ever wondered what those thin, vibrantly green and curly stalks from the bulbs of hardneck garlic plants are? Those are called garlic scapes!
Those stems are usually harvested from the bulb before they can produce flowers. That way, the plant doesn’t channel all its energy in making the scape – leaving the garlic bulb small and flavourless.
They’re very versatile and, in my opinion, the most under-appreciated part of the plant. These beautiful stalks can be cooked and eaten in so many different ways. One you try them, you’ll be looking for them on every one of your farmers’ market trips – and if you hadn’t guessed, they’re still in season right now!
What do they taste like?
Garlic scapes taste like the perfect flavour combination of onions, garlic and scallions. They’re mild and sweet but have a more delicate taste than a regular garlic. This means you can cook more garlic scapes than needed but won’t get that overpowering garlic taste.
They can easily be roasted, puréed, grilled, sautéed, poached and pickled or simply just be eaten raw by itself. Just trim the hard part on the tip and the bulb (compost it!), run it under cold running water to rinse off any dirt and you’re good to go.
Where can I find them?
They can be found in your nearest Ontario farmers’ markets and other independent grocers. They can also be found in Asian supermarkets in the produce section.
If you need a little kitchen inspiration, here’s 5 things we love to do with garlic scapes:
1. 3 words: GARLIC SCAPE PESTO
These tangled bits of goodness are so great with anything. You can blitz them up and use them as a garlic/basil substitute in your go-to pesto recipe and you’re all set. Don’t have a go-to recipe? Here’s a quick and easy one!
Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta
- Garlic scapes
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- On a food processor, blitz the roasted cashew nuts first (roasting them lets it release its natural oils and gives more depth in flavor) – I used cashews because I really love them personally but you can use whatever nuts you have. Walnuts are a really great substitute as well. Set aside some crushed toasted cashews for presentation.
- Add the chopped garlic scapes and basil, pulse it a bit and then add olive oil slowly. Season it with salt and pepper, add more olive oil until you get that perfect pesto texture and add the parmesan cheese last.
Cut into 6” and pickle them in a jar. These are absolutely perfect for a balance of texture and flavour in salads and other dishes.
Tip: Add pickled garlic scapes on top of your scrambled eggs for breakfast. Total game changer.
Scape Compound Butter
Blitz garlic scapes in a food processor, then slowly add in the cold butter and preferred seasonings. This will be the perfect compliment to your steak and fish dishes!
Roasted / Grilled Scapes
Mix with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Either roast them in the oven or grill them in your backyard grill, this simple vegetable dish will pair well to any meal of the day. Sprinkle with some fresh squeezed lemon juice and zest to add some brightness.
Garlic Scape Soup
Add it as an additional flavouring OR substitute it for garlic on any soup dish! This adds a whole new world of flavours to your dish. And will surely leave your guests hanging with the question “what did you put in your soup that made it taste so good?”