Cooking with garlic scapes.

One of the many pleasures of growing your own garlic (see here for a how-to on growing garlic) is the arrival of garlic scapes. These are the little curlicue sprouts that shoot, almost overnight, from the tops of hardneck garlic plants. They arrive all at once and have to be cut off, so that the plant’s energy is directed toward growing a fuller bulb (the underground part, which is harvested in mid-summer).

Garlic scapes have a slightly different flavor profile than garlic cloves: more peppery, less pungent. Since I cut a bunch of them last week, I’ve been sautéing garlic scapes in butter or olive oil, much as I would regular garlic. Rob stirred about 1/2 cup of sliced garlic scapes into a batch of risotto with fresh zucchini. I added them to a simple pasta dish of orecchiette with Swiss chard, a couple tablespoons of butter and heaps of Parmesan cheese. We tossed some in a marinade for grilled chicken. Next week, I plan to make a batch of my friend Soup Addict’s homemade ricotta cheese and stir in some minced fresh herbs and garlic scapes. Dorie Greenspan turns them into garlic scape pesto.

Like everything wonderful, garlic scapes are a fleeting, seasonal pleasure. If you can find a bagful at your farmers’ market, by all means bring some home.

Do you cook with garlic scapes? Please share your recipes and ideas here!

19 thoughts on “Cooking with garlic scapes.

  1. I’ve been doing some pickling recently, so I wonder, have you ever pickled garlic scapes? Seems like it might be a yummy way to preserve them for winter dishes!

    • Sharon — I have a canning book that says to pickle them like dilly green beans. I ahve not tried yet, but hoping to get some scapes this week.

    • Last year i took some and used the refrigerator pickle and they came out !!! Crunchy sweet garlic flavor great in Bloody Mary’ s ,This year I have 2 gallons I am going to take to the Farm Markets I sell at.

  2. I got hooked on garlic scapes last year when we got them in our CSA box (I had never seen them before). I used them like garlic, sautéeing or throwing on the grill with veggies. Also put them in tuna/salmon salad. We didn’t sign up for a CSA this year (not much time to cook with Little One keeping me busy) so I will have to find them somewhere!

  3. I bought some last year at Findlay Mkt from one of the farmers mkt vendors and loved them. I sauteed them with so many different veggies and mixed them in to seafood dishes. I thought they were very good and, yes milder than regular garlic, but a nice addition!

  4. I just got these in my CSA box, this is my first CSA year, and since I love garlic I sliced up a couple inches like green onion for my salad.

  5. I use the refrigerator pickle recipe to pickle my garlic scapes a very good sweet pickle that is very popular where ever I take them !!

    • did I wait too late for my garlic scapes…they almost fromed a garlic bulb …and the stalk it very stiff…is there any other thing I can do or how to store them or use them if too late …just want to know if I have to toss them

      • I’m not a scape expert, but the scapes are quite stiff when I get them at the market. If they are still kind of moist when you break one of them, and they are still pretty fragrant and fresh smelling, my guess is they are probably still ok.

  6. I was introduced to garlic scapes in my CSA box this week. They have a rather stiff stalk; are much tougher than a green onion. What parts of the stalk do you use?

    • sounds like they are to mature if cut very early they are very tender like asparagus I use mine in omelets and pasta with olive oil.I also pickle with a sweet pickle brine.

  7. I sliced eggplant real thin and baked it for 12-15 minutes until it turned brown (sprayed with olive oil). Then I microwaved spinach and garlic snapes for 2 minutes. I put a layer down of eggplant, spinach and garlic snapes, some feta cheese and a layer of eggplant and it came out great.

  8. I’m loving all the ideas for cooking with garlic scapes! Keep ’em coming! For those who are wondering if they’ve let the garlic scapes in their garden get a little past their prime, I think that if they’re tough and woody, I would not use them. But if they’re just firm, I say, go ahead and give them a try.

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