Have you heard of garlic scapes? They’re a delicious little bonus treat you get from growing your own garlic. In this article, we’ll talk more about what are garlic scapes are and how you can use them.
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First off, if you’re reading this & not currently growing your own garlic – we need to talk…
Garlic is a low-maintenance plant that’s perfect for beginner gardeners. It requires virtually no upkeep and is naturally pest resistant.
Plus, homegrown garlic tastes gads better than the junk you buy at the grocery store. So zesty and flavorful – yum!
We cannot encourage you enough to give garlic a try in your garden next year.
Learn more about planting & growing your own garlic here.
A Little Garlic Science
Like all other plants, garlic’s main goal is not to provide you with fruit – it’s to flower & reproduce. To that end, in the early summer, you’ll notice your garlic will start growing a curly stem, with a flower bud attached. That is your garlic attempting to go to seed.
Now, oddly enough, even though garlic produces these flowers & seeds, it’s actually incredibly difficult to grow by that method.
Garlic is pretty exclusively grown by planting cloves. From what I understand, it’s much harder to get the seeds to germinate, so why go through the trouble?
In fact, while your garlic is focusing energy on producing that flower, it’s actually taking energy away from making your garlic bulb.
Hold on a minute – that sounds terrible!
Exactly – so how do we solve this problem? With garlic scapes!
What are Garlic Scapes?
Scapes are the tender stems of the flowers produced by your garlic. They taste just like – you guessed it – garlic, and can be used in place of cloves.
Removing the stems refocuses energy back into the bulb and gives you an extra bonus treat.
Pro Tip: The flower bulbs taste terrible & you may need to trim away tough bits on either end of the scapes. They’re usually most tender towards the base.
One thing I should mention is that you only get scapes with hardneck varieties of garlic.
Read more about hardneck vs softneck varieties here.
When to Harvest Garlic Scapes
You want to harvest scapes sooner than later, so there’s less energy diverted away from growing a large bulb. You can definitely cut them off as soon as they appear & there would be zero energy lost, but that doesn’t maximize your gains.
There’s a bit of a sweet spot when it comes to harvesting. In most cases, you’ll want to cut off the scapes when they form a pretty full circle. Not all of them with come all the way around, but you get the general idea.
Usually at that point, they’re still nice and tender, but you’ve also maximized the amount of scapes to harvest. For us in Zone 8, this usually hits around mid-to-late June.
If you leave them on for too long, they will become rough and inedible.
How to Use Garlic Scapes
First and foremost, garlic scapes can be used anywhere you would use garlic. It can be finely diced and put in any dish.
You can also throw them on the grill for a delicious, charred side dish.
Our favorite way to enjoy garlic scapes is lacto-fermented. We’ll have the recipe up soon.
I’ve also heard they make a mean garlic scape pesto – which we’re anxious to try.
Basically, the possibilities are endless!
What do you think? Are you ready to give garlic scapes a try? You’ll be helping your garlic plant & they’re tasty to boot!
If you enjoyed this article, please share it to spread the garlic love.
Did you know that garlic scapes were edible? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them? Send us an email or leave a comment below! You can also let us know on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest pages.
Be sure to check out these helpful articles for more gardening ideas…
- The Complete Guide to Growing Garlic
- How to Harvest, Cure, & Store Garlic
- Grow These Plants Side-by-Side for a Thriving Garden
- How to Grow Onions From Seed
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