A scape is another word for flower stalk; it is the stem which emerges from the bulb above ground. They do not produce flowers; except for Amaryllis. All varieties of garlic produce a stem but only the Hardneck Rocombole garlic produces the curling scape that is edible; its nickname is “serpent garlic.” When the stalk loses its curl, it is an indicator the garlic bulb is mature.
Garlic scapes are both edible and delicious. They taste like mild garlic and have a tender and crisp texture. Garlic scape season is very short, mid June.
When purchasing garlic scapes look for scapes that are still in full curl; as they age they get tougher. Snap scapes the same way as asparagus or snip with scissors, which are easier than cutting them with a knife. Remove the pod before using scapes in recipes, it’s more fibrous and is stronger in taste.
Garlic scapes can be used in salads, pasta, eggs, pesto, soups, added to mashed potatoes, stir fry and hummus. Scapes can be grilled, used as a pizza topper, in compound butter or cream cheese, and as a garnish.
Garlic scapes hold up well in the freezer, when stored in plastic zip locked bags. When storing pesto in a container, leave a thin layer of olive oil on top and press plastic wrap onto the oil’s surface.
Want to find out some more uses for garlic scapes? Catch up with Chef Jacquie at the Bryn Mawr Farmers’ Market on July 5!