in season: the 'bonus' of garlic scapes

I GROW HARDNECK GARLIC because I like the big heads with a few, extra-fat cloves each (usually about four, maybe five), but also because of what happens right now, when my ‘German Extra Hardy’ plants send up their early bonus–a tasty flowering stalk, or scape. I prune each mildly garlicky curlicue off, grill it whole or cut it into pieces and saute or stir-fry it, or make a batch of scape pesto for the freezer. Read more on scapes–which I enjoyed lightly cooked with inch-long pieces of garden-fresh asparagus twice last week over rice, and then pasta. Extra olive oil and Parmesan cheese on my portion, please!

  1. Smallpeace says:

    Oh how I love the earthy, garlicky richness of scapes. And scape pesto! Mmm. Thanks for reminding me, Margaret. It’s such a terrific treat to store in the freezer for future reference.

    1. margaret says:

      Lucky you, Ellie. Last night I just lightly steamed cut-up scapes and asparagus again (like pieces an inch long of each) and piled them on a bed of rice w/Parm and olive oil and it was great. The pesto from them is mild and delicate. Enjoy!

  2. Aaron says:

    Oh Margaret,
    I wish I’d come across your blog last week! Today I searched for when to harvest garlic and Google pointed me to you. I have a whole 5×10 raised bed of garlic and didn’t save any scapes. My wife and I love garlic and we love pesto. I’m so disapointed in myself at this lost opportunity. Oh well! This is our first year growing a large garlic crop, so live and learn.
    Can you tell me, is the garlic running ahead of schedule this year due to the crazy warm winter and spring we had? I’m in Harrisburg, PA and last year we harvested around 4th of July. The bottom leaves on my smaller garlics are starting to brown but are not completely brown. The German Hardy is just starting to brown on the tips.
    Is it time to start checking a few here and there or should I tell my wife to be patient?

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Aaron. Fine to check a couple, but sounds like you have a couple of weeks to go (though I agree it might be a little early, nutty weather). You will have scapes next year from all the hardneck kinds, don’t worry! As for the one(s) you check, be sure to use them — even slightly young fresh garlic is wonderful! Enjoy.

  3. Lucy says:

    I tried scapes last year for the first time and loved them grilled, just lightly brushed with olive oil. But saw your idea to sauté in olive oil with asparagus and serve on rice and tried it last night. Thanks for a quick (rice was made already) and lovely springtime dish.
    I still in the throes of ramp pesto, but maybe I will try scape pesto next…LOVE spring vegetables!

  4. Judy from Kansas says:

    I don’t recall seeing anything like these scapes on my hard neck garlic (just harvested already due to our mild winter and long spring – I’d guess). Do you have any pictures of how they look on the plant so I can look for them next year?

  5. Pam says:

    Hi Margaret,

    So I just cut my scapes today (June 25). I’m 45 minutes north of you. Do you think I waited too long to still use these to make pesto? They were still curling… but I’m concerned I may have waited too long. That is, if you don’t get them early enough are they too bitter to invest in?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.