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What to do With Garlic Scapes – eSCAPE from New York

I had a 5 minute texting conversation with my mother-in-law about garlic scapes.

Me: Yo, do you want any garlic scapes?
Her: What are garlic scrapes?
Me: Garlic scapes are curly parts of garlic that you can eat.  Notice my passive aggressive way of correcting her spelling?  I do that with Troy too.
Her: Sure, I’ll take some scrapes.
Me: It’s scapes woman!
*Please note, we have a fantastic relationship!  For reals, we do.  I love my in-laws.

Tis the time of year for using up your garlic scapes, the curly and lovely portion of your garlic plants.  You DID plant garlic last fall, right?  Garlic is a no-brainer because you plant it in fall and basically ignore it until July or August.  I love things that I can ignore that will still produce tasty homegrown food for my family.  Not to mention keeping me safe from vampires.

If you didn’t plant garlic this year, scapes are pretty widely available at most farmer’s markets.  Just bookmark this post, and plant your garlic in a few months, and then enjoy your scapes next summer.  Removing the scapes is like removing suckers from tomato plants – it helps the plant focus on the production of the vegetable (tomatoes are fruit though.  Is garlic even a vegetable?).

Remove your scapes right where they begin to curl.  Wash, and dry and then get creative!

Garlic scape pesto (replace the basil with (duh) scapes) in this recipe for a garlicky addition to pasta, chicken, pizza, or use it as a dip with crackers.  The thought of garlic scape pesto and brie makes me want to dance.

Freeze the cleaned scapes, and use later in the year for stir-fries, soups, or grilling.

Sautee the sliced scapes with butter, chives, parsley, and a touch of dill, then freeze in ice cube trays (and then remove to containers or Ziplocs once frozen) to use as flavored butters for dutch oven bread, baked potatoes, pasta, etc.

Cut the scapes like you would a green onion, and get creative.  It’s basically bonus garlic from your plant.  It’s like when you order french fries and you get one curly fry with all the other ones; it seems like you won the lottery!

PS, I almost never order fries at restaurants – when we do go to restaurants.  But the awesomeness of bonus fries is universal.

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18 comments on “What to do With Garlic Scapes – eSCAPE from New York”

  1. Thanks for posting this! A friend just came over yesterday with a bag full for me from the farmer’s market. I must admit that I have never planted garlic, but this year, things are gonna be different!

  2. Thanks for this!

  3. I love that you called your mother-in-law woman. This is the relationship my mom and I have. I do it all the time! =P

  4. I’ve never heard of this before. Is it a special kind of garlic that goes curly? We plant some nearly every year (mostly at my brothers) but none of it is curly like that. Or would it be because we can’t fall plant it here because it freezes off?

    • I’ve only planted garlic twice – once here in Seattle, and once when we lived in LA. For both, I planted in fall, and both times I got garlic scapes in May/June. They haven’t been special kinds of curly garlic each time – just different seed garlic from a various companies.

      In fact, the garlic I planted last October was a mixed bag of seed garlic, so I actually have 2 kinds in there. Both have the scapes.

      Sounds like it’s a fall planting kind of phenomenon!

  5. Okay, maybe I’m a little slow this morning, but the seed garlic — is that just a regular garlic bulb you get at the grocery store, or do you have to buy a particular type at a nursery or something to do this?

    • So I believe that technically you can use normal garlic from the grocery store, but seed garlic are/is heads of garlic you purchase from a gardening company. You know that seed garlic is sterilized for planting. Garlic from the grocery store could have anything sprayed on it to keep it from budding (the green tips you sometimes get in your garlic heads) which would make it crappy seed garlic.

      Also, garlic from the grocery store is the Taco Bell of garlic. It’s basic, cheap, and doesn’t have anything special about it. Seed garlic lets you pick out special kinds that are sweeter, or bigger, etc. The seed garlic I bought came with various bulbs so that I was able to plant a variety.

  6. I never heard of that before! Thursday we will be in our first house for a year. This spring we put in a garden. I would love to plant garlic in the fall. Hmmm…I’ll talk to hubby about that one.

    Allyb6 – I have never used this but it has good reviews on amazon for deer repellent:

    • Oh you have to do it! I’m not sure where you live, but if you have an Azure Standard drop site near you, I bought my seed garlic from them for a great price. I think it was $15 for 1 or 1.5 of organic seed garlic. I think that yielded me about 40 plants.

  7. How do you plant garlic??

    • Garlic is the easiest thing to plant which is why I love it. Prepare your site, and plant it in September/October. Break up your head of seed garlic until you have all the individual cloves.

      Stick your pointer finger in the dirt up to your knuckle and then put one clove in (pointy side up) and cover with dirt. I cover the whole patch with straw for the winter and you just ignore it. No need to water it unless your fall is wicked dry. You’ll start noticing sprouts coming up in February/March depending on your zone.

      The beauty of it is that you just let it grow until it looks like it’s dead. Then pull it up and dry the plants out for a few weeks. Voila, garlic! You have to plant it in a place where you don’t mind giving up the space for almost 10 months (plant in October, harvest in August).

  8. Awesome post…..I have never heard of scapes but sounds like a terrific idea and no waste. I have never planted garlic till this spring (obviously I know nothing about when to plant…). Nothing has happened, of course, so I will try again in the fall. Thanks so much for this info!

  9. OMG! Sounds so Delish! Does planting garlic keep the deer out of the garden too??? My garden has taken a beating this year and really don’t wanna spend the $$ to fence it in….Oh, and BTW thanks for posting about your raspberry trellis. Me and the hubs built one over the weekend!

    • We don’t really have deer in our area (there are all of 2), but I doubt the plants will keep them away. The plants don’t really smell like garlic, so I wouldn’t think they’re a deterrent.

      The best deer proofing you can get would be wild peacocks. the two that live on my street get really pissy with the deer!

    • I know it has been a long time since you asked but… Garlic really does keep the deer away. Even though fall is the proper time to plant garlic (in NY like I am), it will grow if planted in the spring. I planted a row up the end that the wind blows from. If you don’t dig it up, it will split and regrow every year. We dug alot up, but a few clumps still keep the deer away. The chickens, though…

  10. Garlic Scapes are wonderful! I use them for pesto and in potatoes, same as regular garlic.