A SEASONAL CULINARY CRAZE
We're absolutely obsessed with garlic scapes, and we want everyone to fall in love with this beautiful, tangly, scrumptious, seasonal delicacy like we have!
Scapes are the flower stalks that grow out of the center of certain types of hardneck garlic plants in mid-June. They curl into one or two loops as they grow, and ultimately straighten while sprouting little bulbs on the end filled with tiny, garlic-shaped bulbils. Bulbils are genetic copies of the parent plant, not seeds.
To harvest garlic scapes, we snap them off at the juncture where they emerge from between the top leaves of the plant. By snapping off the scapes before the bulbils develop too much, the garlic plants put more energy into making bigger bulbs.
When garlic scapes are in full curl, they are tender and delicious. They have a sweeter, milder flavor than garlic cloves, and a texture like green beans or asparagus. Scapes are a true delicacy that is highly prized by foodies and chefs of all skill level because of their subtle garlic flavor, tender, crisp texture, and short window of availability. We like to say that scapes give you some of the lovely flavor of garlic without the consequence of dragon breath!
Because scapes have a mild garlic flavor with a hint of sweetness, they can be used just like scallions or chives. They’re especially tasty when used raw in pesto, salsa, or salads, or they can be oven roasted, pickled, fermented or sautéd in butter. Try adding them to stir-fry, soups, stews or pizza, or even baking them into bread! We love tossing scapes in a little olive oil and sea salt, then grilling them for 7–10 minutes. This simple preparation really allows the subtle scape flavor to shine, and is one of our family's favorite, quick side dishes to go along with any summer meal.
Check out the scape recipes in Our Stinky Kitchen and the collection of our favorite scape videos below for more unique ways to enjoy this sensational, fleeting delight.
Scapes can keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks and in the freezer indefinitely as long as they are protected from freezer burn. You can also dehydrate and pickle them. We recommend using fresh or refrigerated scapes for grilling, sautéing, or adding to fresh recipes to take advantage of their firmer texture, and using frozen, dehydrated and pickled scapes otherwise. Here are some scape storage options:
REFRIGERATE FRESH SCAPES
Rinse scapes in cool water, then store them in an airtight, resealable bag in the refrigerator. Or, gather your scapes at the trimmed end and put them in a tall, glass jar with 1–2" of water so they look like a bouquet of flowers. Change the water every 2–3 days. Trim the flower bulb off each scape stem just before use.
Rinse fresh scapes in cool water, then use a salad spinner (or pat with a dry towel) to remove as much water from the surface as possible. Trim the flower bulb off each scape stem.
Place trimmed scapes in an airtight, resealable bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag, seal it, and place it as flat as possible in the freezer; or
Place trimmed scapes in a vacuum seal bag. Seal the bag and freeze; or
Cut trimmed scapes into 1–2" pieces. Using a food processor, coarsely chop the scapes further into a very rough puree. Add enough water to the bowl to make a loose paste, then drop the mixture by spoonfuls into ice cube trays and freeze. Store your scape cubes in a covered container in the freezer.
Rinse fresh scapes in cool water, then trim the flower bulb off each scape stem.
Using a sharp knife or food processor, chop the scape stems into ¼–½" pieces, and spread out in a single layer on your food dehydrator tray(s).
Dry at 125°F for 6–11 hours depending on humidity levels.
Once fully dried to a crispy or "snappable" state, dehydrated scapes can either be left in chunky pieces to be used in cooking and baking as needed, or you can create a course scape powder using a food processor or spice grinder.
Store dried scapes or dried scape powder in an airtight, glass jar or resealable bag in a cool, dry place.
Pickled scapes taste like garlic-y pickled beans with an extra crunchy snap. Scape stems can be pickled two ways; either cut the straight part of the stems to length for tall canning jars, and the curly part of the stems is the perfect size for wide-mouth canning jars. See the recipe for Pickled Scapes in Our Stinky Kitchen.