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From Larry’s Garden: Garlic means scapes!

At this time of year, your garden may be providing fresh garlic to you.  My friend Larry, an avid gardener, just harvested some young fresh garlic from his property this week.

If you aren’t growing your own this year, hit the farmers markets as this is the time!

The additional benefit of the fresh garlic head are the chives and scapes.

Generally available in June or early July, garlic scapes are the flower stalk of the garlic whereas chives are the tender leaves. Garlic needs to be harvested on the early side if you plan on utilizing the scapes. They are best used when they are curled. As the plant matures, the stalks become more straight in order to support the plant. When that happens, the scapes become less tender and less aromatic.

The entire stalk and flower of the garlic plant are edible.  The stalk (scape) has a mild garlic flavor and aroma.  Scapes provide a garlic essence to your dishes that are not as strong as using the cloves.

In the kitchen, scapes are great to add to stews, your marinades, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, the possibilities are up to you.  Scapes can also be sauteed and eaten as a side dish along with grilled meats or fish.

Here is just one idea to get you going with your scapes:

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 pound garlic scapes
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup to 1 cup (depending on desired consistency) of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbls freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup lightly toasted pine nuts or walnuts (optional)

  1. Chop the garlic scapes into 3 inch lengths.
  2. Place the scapes into a food processor and pulse until pureed.
  3. Add the parmesan and nuts continuing to pulse until smooth.
  4. Add lemon juice then slowly drizzle in the olive oil as the food processor runs and continue until all the oil is combined into the garlic mixture.
  5. Store in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for future winter use.

Your pesto can be spread on breads, used on sandwiches or drizzled on grilled meats and fish.

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