Using Garlic Scapes

I promised to make a post about using garlic scapes. To me, they’re one of spring’s best treats! They’re mild and almost sweet. Raw, they’re as crunchy as green beans; cooked, they become tender.

garlic scape with shadowYou may already know that garlic scapes are the long stalks and flower bud of the hardneck garlic plant. These are removed in spring, which encourages the plant to make bigger and plumper garlic bulbs underground.

My CSA box held garlic scapes, but you might also find them piled in a tangle at your local farmers market. If you’re very lucky, your grocery store might carry some. Do pick up a bunch – they’ll last for weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. With your precious garlic scapes, you can make all sorts of wonderful things. Here are some ideas to start you off:

  • blitz into garlic scape pesto. I don’t usually add herbs to mine, but feel free to put in basil, or thyme, or whatever lights up your taste buds
  • chop them into little nubbins, and sauté. They’re a fabulous stir-in for frittatas or scrambled eggs – or on a pizza. Keep the oil you cooked them in, too, because it has tons of flavor
  • make a white bean and garlic scape dip – perfect to take to a cookout, and the best thing ever for crispy spring vegetables. Eat healthy!
  • use chopped garlic scapes in a stir-fry or fried rice: garlicky taste, but green
  • try the unexpected: double garlic soup from Melissa Clark at the New York Times
  • schmear scapes on bagels – add minced scapes and some fresh thyme or oregano into softened cream cheese
  • treat them like green beans: cut the scapes in 2-inch pieces, blanch briefly, and toss with a lemony vinaigrette
  • make flavored vinegar – take one or 2 scapes, cut into 4-inch lengths, and bruise them a bit so they’ll release more flavor. Put them in a scrupulously clean jar, and top that off with rice vinegar. Make sure the vinegar covers the scapes completely! Store the jar in your refrigerator (or some other cool dark place). Allow to infuse for 10-14 days, then strain and use in salad dressings and marinades.
  • another soup from the blog Dinner with Julie, this one uses spinach, peas, and garlic scapes

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