Garlic Scapes

garlic scapes
Garlic scapes are excellent as a garlic replacement in things like pesto and salads

I planted three varieties of garlic this year and two were hard necks… which gave me some wonderful garlic scapes. Scapes are the flower stalk of the hardneck garlic bulb and typically come up around June in the Pacific Northwest. Garlic reproduces vegatatively and so the these scapes of the cultivars I grow produce sterile bulbils. It apparently comes up after the last of the leaves start to grow. I cut them off when they are long enough that they start to curl up. If you cut too early it can negatively affect the bulbs storage length. l’ve read that cutting them off helps the garlic bulb focus energy on the growing bulb, but I’ve also heard it doesn’t really matter if you let it flower. A WSU webpage states that it really depends on how good your soil is. If its good soil it only reduces the bulb size by 5%. So as long as you have good soil why wouldn’t you cut them and use them in foods? I typically use the scapes growth as a timing mechanism to tell me my garlic bulbs will be ready to pull in about a month.

Now I have to decide what to do with the garlic scapes.

Some things I’m considering:
1. Pickled garlic scapes with curry. I found this on the Dyer Family Organic Farm website.
2. Freeze – In ice cube trays, in a flat layer so you can break off portion
3. Pesto – This is what I decided to do.  Here is my recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto.

Great resources concerning garlic scapes:

Washington State University research on Scapes
A Connecticut Farm growing garlic
Scape food ideas
My source for great seed garlic


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