Garlic scapes are often something people love and actively seek or are an unknown entity and somewhat scary. I fell in the second category until we received a very large quantity in a CSA share numerous years ago. Now that I have FarmBucks, I actively choose to order them.
Here are some sought after questions and answers to help decrease the uncertainty about garlic scapes.
What are garlic scapes? They are the garlic stems that appear (above ground) before the garlic that we know with the cloves is mature underground. The scapes are often removed in order to help the energy be focused on growing the bulb (the garlic cloves). Here’s an analogy: what scallions are to onions, garlic scapes are to garlic.
What do they look like? They are green, curly and tender.
What do they taste like? Garlic (duh!).
Why buy them? They are only around a few weeks out of the year. They have a vibrant green appearance and are often a slightly milder garlic flavor. In the culinary world, they are often used to enhance the look (providing green), texture (tender) and flavor (garlic) of a dish.
How do I prepare them? The simplest way is to use in the same applications as garlic.
How do I store them? Store in paper bag in refrigerator for up to 1 month. They also freeze well.
(Quick) Recipe ideas:
Very young and tender scapes: chop into salads or sprinkle on pasta.
Stir-fry: pairs well any vegetable, including pea pods (if your pea pods actually make it to the pan before they are devoured raw)
White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip – quick and easy. Can be used as a dip or spread on sandwich similar to hummus.
Add to egg dishes such as frittata or omelet
If all else fails, as with any green – make it into pesto!
If you don’t want to do any cooking, they make a fabulous centerpiece – just place in a vase and the conversation begins!