Don’t Miss Out on Fresh Garlic Scapes
Everything you need to know about buying, storing, and cooking this springtime allium.
Garlic lovers know that when late spring arrives, so do slim, serpentine, bright-green garlic scapes. They start to appear at farmers’ markets and in community-supported agriculture boxes toward the end of May and are terrific both raw and cooked, adding grassy, garlicky flavor to recipes or simply cooked as a side dish.
What Are Garlic Scapes?
Garlic scapes—long, slender flower stems—grow from the tops of hardneck garlic. Each shoot loops in a circle and ends in a mini clove called a bulbil. Farmers have long known that snipping the scapes off encourages the plant to direct its energy toward growing plump underground garlic bulbs, but only recently has this agricultural byproduct begun to be sold alongside other springtime vegetables.
What Do Garlic Scapes Taste Like?
Raw garlic scapes have an assertive garlic flavor that’s less fiery and more grassy than that of raw garlic cloves. When the scapes are cooked, the garlic flavor becomes more muted and sweet—more like roasted garlic than raw—and the texture turns impressively dense and meaty.
How to Prepare Garlic Scapes
The stem ends and the flower pods can be quite fibrous even when cooked, so we recommend trimming them before use.
Because raw garlic scapes have a tough and fibrous texture, they work best minced or pureed. Buzzed with extra-virgin olive oil and pine nuts in a food processor, they produce a simple yet potent Garlic Scape Pesto. We also like them blended into white bean dip.
GRILLED OR SAUTÉED
To grill garlic scapes, toss them with oil, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-high heat until they are softened and lightly charred, about 15 minutes.
We also like garlic scapes simply sautéed in olive oil. Cut them into lengths and cook until they are lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garlic Scapes Recipe
One of our favorite ways to enjoy garlic scapes is in a stir-fry such as our Teriyaki Stir-Fried Garlic Scapes with Chicken. The recipe calls for a full 12 ounces of scapes, along with earthy cremini mushrooms, chicken breasts, and a gingery sauce that’s sweet, savory, and acidic.
How to Store Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are very hardy: Refrigerate them in a zipper-lock bag, left slightly open, for up to three weeks.