Lee & Maria’s Recipes
Garlic scapes are one of those crops that causes a lot of excitement around the market. To be honest, we’ve been growing garlic for decades, and until a few years ago had no idea that there was a use for the scape, we plucked off and discarded. Now, the scape is almost as famous as the garlic bulb itself. A scape is a stalk that a garlic plant shoots as it matures in the field. If left on the garlic, the scape will eventually bloom a flower. The reason we pluck the scape off the plant is to allow all of that energy to go into growing a larger bulb. If you’ve grown garlic yourself and wondered why it didn’t turn out, it’s likely because you forgot to pluck the scape, or pulled them too late.
Garlic Scapes harvested off Kingsville garlic plants.
Scapes are a lot like that one buddy who is good at a lot of things, but really a master of none. When you want to add garlic taste to a dish, scapes are the thing. Just crack open a bulb of garlic and get to work. But, if you want something that can handle a bunch of different jobs, like sauteing, grilling, or adding a mild garlic punch to something like pesto…that’s scapes! You use them like green onions, sort of. Chop them up fine in a salad, sautee them for an omelet, or ground them up into a pesto-like paste. The biggest thing to remember is that they are a bit tougher than they look.
Here are our 5 Easy Ways to Use Garlic Scapes (recipe to follow):
1. Scape Pesto
Far and away the best way to use garlic scapes is pesto, in our opinions, either straight-up or mixed with herbs like basil and dill. Pesto showcases raw scapes in all their glory. Scape pesto can be very pungent, but it mellows substantially after a few months in the freezer. I like it best mixed in with some linguini noodles for a fantastic Scape Pesto Pasta. If you make the recipe below ahead, just thaw it out and add it to some cooked noodles for a delicious garlicky meal.
2. Grilled Scapes
Another great, and very different, way to showcase scapes is to grill them, tossed with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, over direct heat for about two minutes. Flip them once, halfway through, and finish with an extra sprinkle of flaky salt and maybe a bit of lemon juice and zest. They’ll be charred in spots and just soft enough, and their flavour will have sweetened and mellowed dramatically. Grilled scapes are surprisingly reminiscent of asparagus.
3. Scape Butter
Scapes make a delicious butter, you just need to add a little fresh thyme and you’re set. You could use the butter to make an absolutely epic garlic-bread
4. Scapes treated like green onions
Scapes also work well as a vegetable, cut into lengths and added to stir-fries or blanched and added to salads, much as you might use green beans. They’re chameleons among vegetables.
5. Homemade Garlic Powder
A lot of farmers use this trick to add a little profit to the garlic plant. you basically just need a dehydrator and a lot of scapes. Once you get them dried out, grind them up in a blender and you have mellow garlic powder. Personally, I think it’s a waste of good scapes, but you can do it if you like.
Farmers Garlic Scape Pesto
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup olive oil extra virgin
- ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated
In a small, dry pan set over very low heat, lightly toast the pine nuts, stirring or tossing occasionally until just beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Combine the scapes, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 20 times, until fairly well combined.
Pour in the olive oil slowly through the feed tube while the motor is running. When the oil is incorporated, transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese.