I bought my first home last summer. It just so happens that the folks who owned the home before me were avid gardeners so I inherited three raised garden beds. One day I got the bright idea to dive right into gardening. No, “let’s take it easy this year.” No, “let’s just start with tomato plants.” No. I went from zero to sixty.
I hopped online and purchased heirloom organic vegetable seeds, seed starter kits, heat mats, shelving, lights, and created a full on grow area in my basement. It looks like I am a doomsday prepper. Surprisingly, most of my seedlings are doing fairly well, and I’m not entirely overwhelmed yet. But I can feel it coming.
One of the easier things I’ve started to grow indoors is garlic. I simply purchased organic garlic and split the large bulb into pieces. Then I planted the individual garlic cloves point up in 6″ of soil, watered it, and covered the containers in plastic wrap. Who knew it could be so easy to grow?
The best part is that as the garlic bulbs grow, the plant produces a stalk called “garlic scapes.” What the
heck is a garlic scape you ask? Well, it’s a flower stalk that rises out of garlic as the bulb grows. The scapes grow very tall and eventually begin to curl. If left unharvested, the garlic bulbs will be stunted due to competing for resources. To avoid small, flavorless garlic, it’s best to harvest the scapes every 12 inches or so.
Sadly these greens are often tossed in the trash in the US even though they are considered a delicacy in many Asian countries. Garlic scapes are a shockingly tasty, green with many uses in every day meals. The flavor is mild and slightly sweet—a mix between a green onion/scallions and garlic. Once harvested, scapes will last for weeks in the refrigerator if kept in a sealed plastic bag.
So what to do with your garlic scapes? These fresh greens work well minced and added to salsas, dips, pesto, salads, or even mashed potatoes. You can also roast or grill scapes whole if you like a stronger garlic flavor or simply sauté them and toss in asian-inspired dishes like stir-fries, curries, or fried rice. A quick search will also turn up numerous vinaigrette recipes which call for garlic scapes.
If you aren’t growing your own garlic but are curious about garlic scapes, you’re in luck! These often appear in late Spring and Summer CSAs/ farmers markets. What’s your favorite seasonal farmers marker find?
* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own!