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Garlic Scapes

June 11th, 2011

I’ve been keeping an eye on my garlic watching for the scapes to appear. It’s amazing how one day you check and there’s nothing, then the next they’re curling out of the middle of the plant. Not all garlic produces scapes, from what I read only the hard neck varieties do, so don’t be worried if yours doesn’t.

I have read that harvesting the scapes will produce larger bulbs, this has been my experience. The first year I grew garlic I harvested some scapes and left some. The bulbs were much larger on the plants I had harvested scapes from. It makes sense as the plant doesn’t expend energy into the production of the flower instead using it to grow a large bulb.

Garlic scapes are quite delicious, they don’t have the assertive garlic flavor of the bulbs so you can eat them as a side dish or use them in other dishes. They’re quite good sauteed or grilled. If you’ve never had them before treat them like you would asparagus. My favorite way to enjoy them is in stir fry. This week it was ginger venison stir fry with those golden peas (I’ll share my recipe next week). I’m thinking this coming week I may make pasta carbonara with garlic scapes.

Do you grow garlic? Do you harvest scapes?

26 Comments to “Garlic Scapes”
  1. kristin @ going country on June 11, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Yes and yes. I made carbonara with scapes last year. It was YUM.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  2. Nancy M on June 11, 2011 at 6:54 am

    My garlic scapes are just beginning to appear. I am always very excited to see them! I have used them for garlic scape pesto, in stir-fry, and as a pickle. I enjoy the pickle a lot during the winter. Also, since I only have enough scapes for 2 pints, it is the first thing I pickle each season. Two pints is gentle to re-introduction to canning.

    Reply to Nancy M's comment

    • Susy on June 11, 2011 at 7:34 am

      Pickled scapes – that sounds wonderful. I just planted a HUGE asparagus patch hoping to be able to have enough for pickling. Perhaps I need to plant more garlic this fall!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Jennifer Fisk on June 11, 2011 at 7:09 am

    I have about a 10 x 10 plot of hardneck garlic. I harvest the scapes and make pesto with them. Used in this way, they seem stronger flavored than the bulbs but oh so good. Can’t wait for fresh pesto and to freeze some for next winter.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

    • Susy on June 11, 2011 at 7:33 am

      I’ll have to try making pesto, we usually eat them all up sauteed before I even think about it.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Jaye Whitney on June 11, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Yes, and no! I’ve never tried this, but certainly will. Thanks for the tip!!

    Reply to Jaye Whitney's comment

  5. Allison on June 11, 2011 at 8:19 am

    It’s definitely that time of year! I harvested a bunch last night. I’m going to make pesto with it also. We have a bit of basil ready too, so thought I’d throw some of both in…

    Reply to Allison's comment

  6. Daedre Craig on June 11, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I grow softneck garlic, so no scapes for me. I’ve always wanted to try them, but you can’t seem to buy them anywhere around here. I’ll check at the farmer’s market this morning.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

    • Jennifer Fisk on June 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      Around here, scapes just started showing up at Farmer’s Markets and natural food stores in the last 2-3 years. If you don’t see any at the market, ask the veggie vendors if they know where you might be able to get some. One of them may have some but didn’t bring any because they aren’t popular. They have gone from free to $5/lb around here.

      Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  7. kristin @ going country on June 11, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Also, pickled scapes ARE delicious, and an easier way to preserve them is just to puree them into a paste with some olive oil and freeze it. Then you can either make a pesto with it later by adding the nuts and cheese, of puree some white beans (like cannellini) with the scape puree, lemon juice, and some more olive oil, and you get a DELICIOUS hummus-like dip that is a guaranteed hit at parties.

    I love that bean dip. I could eat (and have eaten) it for days.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  8. KimH on June 11, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I do grow hardneck garlic but I’ve never used the scapes.. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone doing it.. but I’ll try now.
    I think mine may be too late to use though.. the flowers havent opened, but they’re right there… a day or two away I think…
    Although, a southern friend of mine was telling me she was eating an omelet with chives and its flowers… so maybe all is not lost after all. ;)

    I’ll definitely remember this for next year..

    Reply to KimH's comment

    • Jennifer Fisk on June 11, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      Pick them now and try making the pesto. Worst case scenario it is awful but I’ll bet you’ll have something quite tasty.

      Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  9. jane on June 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Yes I grow garlic, I harvest the scales about 2 weeks ago. I add them to eggs, when I’m Making bread, pickle, pesto, add to bake.chicken as on the bottom or inside.

    Reply to jane's comment

  10. Andreae on June 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Garlic scapes are my favourite vegetable. Seriously. Love them. I put them in risotto last summer and it was amazing. We’re still a month or so away from scapes here… your post is making me impatient!

    Reply to Andreae's comment

  11. Songbirdtiff on June 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I’m severely wishing I’d planted garlic. I has to be planted in early spring or late fall, right? I’ve never tried the scapes, but now I’m wishing even more I had garlic so I could try it. :) Next year!

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  12. MAYBELLINE on June 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I grow garlic and just recently harvested my soft neck babies for braiding.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  13. Andrea Duke on June 12, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I harvested all of m scapes last week and made pesto. Ate some and froze some. Last year, I didn’t pick them soon enough and they were too tough.

    Your right though, all of the sudden they just appear!

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

  14. SixBalloons on June 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I’m really excited because I have garlic in my garden for the first time this year! I planted them in October and the stalks are about two and a half feet tall now. No scapes yet though, but I will have to keep my eyes open for them.

    Reply to SixBalloons's comment

  15. Sincerely, Emily on June 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    No garlic scrapes for me – I have solftneck garlic and it was all harvested a few months ago. I am really like using what I grew. I even braided them this year. Now I just have to find a good place to hang it int he kitchen. Your scrapes look luscious. I might need to look at planted some hardneck garlic for the next harvest. Emily

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  16. Cathy on June 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I made pesto with the scapes for the first time this year and it was unbelievably good. Great as a sandwich spread, great on pasta, great on everything! I heard roasting them is also good so am going to try that with the remainder!

    Reply to Cathy's comment

  17. Julie on June 13, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Garlic scapes are fantastic – it’s like getting free veg alongside the garlic bulbs! I love them in stir fries and other Asian dishes.

    Reply to Julie's comment

  18. Ginger Beef Stir Fry | Eat Outside The Bag on January 15, 2012 at 10:10 am

    […] to whip up a stir fry. Currently we’re harvesting those golden peas, green onions, kale and garlic scapes, so that’s what I’ve been using as vegetables in my stir fry. I was also lucky enough […]

    Reply to Ginger Beef Stir Fry | Eat Outside The Bag's comment

  19. Jodiana on June 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I have a garlic question. I planted a few cloves last fall that were given to me. This spring I was given a TON. I just planted them(last week) but I wasn’t sure how they would do, knowing the should have been planted in the fall. Have you ever planted garlic in the spring? How did it turn out?

    Reply to Jodiana's comment

    • Susy on June 4, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      I haven’t planted it in the spring but I know people that plant it in spring instead of fall. Should do quite fine, it will might be ready to harvest later. I’ve toyed with starting some in the spring too to see how it compares for storage purposes and for yield. I have a few bulbs of softneck I may still plant to see.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Jodiana on June 4, 2012 at 10:18 pm

        Thanks Susy. I have hard neck and will be getting a few scrapes from what was already planted. I will let you know how the just planted does for me.

        to Jodiana's comment

  20. Ann on July 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I must have the hardneck kind because I did not get scapes. I saw some scapes at the Farmers market for sale. My garlic leaves are just laying to one side. Is that normal or did they not take?

    Reply to Ann's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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