Whenever we show our customers garlic scapes, three questions always come up:
- What’s that?
- What do I do with scapes?
- How long do they last?
Garlic Scapes are the flower stalks of the garlic plant. They develop in spring and are usually ready to pick in June. They easily break off the plant, no need for scissors. You want to pick them before they get too thick and certainly before the flower bud forms or even opens. The idea is to get the plant to put more energy into growing a bigger and juicier bulb. Only hardneck varieties grow scapes, softneck varieties don’t.
What do I do with scapes?
Well, we love them sauteed in butter. Just like you would do with onions, you can cut them up, fry them and thus give your sauce a nice garlic flavour. We also make pesto with it. I usually don’t stick to exact measure when it comes to making pesto. I usually take 10 garlic scapes, grind them down while adding olive oil and whatever seeds I have. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds have worked well, so have pine nuts and walnuts. I don’t add Parmesan to my pesto because I always add Parmesan to my pasta when served. You can also pickle them or try using them towards a garlic scape – chickpea hummus.
How long do they last?
We wrap them in a moist towel and keep them in the fridge for about two weeks. But I have heard from people who keep them longer. Remember that pickled scapes and frozen or canned pesto does extend the “life” of garlic scapes considerably.