Garlic scapes are a real delicacy; if you have never tried them before, then I implore you to give them a go. And what’s more, they are simply a free by-product of growing garlic, so let’s get into it!
What Are Garlic Scapes
The scape is essentially the flowering spike of a garlic plant. They are produced by hardneck garlic and grow out of the plant’s main stem in late spring/early summer.
I have edited the above picture of some garlic on my allotment so you can clearly identify the scapes.
They are long and tender, the more mature they are, the more they begin to curl.
Harvesting Garlic Scapes
Harvesting the scapes is simple, just snip them off when they are a decent length, 8″ or above.
The scapes taste better when they are younger and before the curls become too tight.
Use some snips and cut them off at the base where they first appear from the main stem of your garlic plant.
As well as tasting delicious, harvesting the scapes is actually a job you need to do whether you plan to eat them or not.
The scape will eventually turn into a flower if left, so it must be removed.
This is to stop the plant from putting its energy into flowering. If this is allowed, your garlic bulbs will be smaller and often quite bland.
Cooking Garlic Scapes
I have a really simple recipe for garlic scapes, but just because it is simple does not mean it’s any less delicious.
These scapes are amazing and, given the once-a-year harvest of scapes, a real delicacy too.
Start by chopping the scapes up into roughly 4″ long pieces.
Then add some butter to a large frying pan and gently melt it.
Add in the scapes and cook on low to medium heat.
Cook them like this for around 10 minutes.
You want them to brown and roast. The look you are going for is very similar to pan-fried asparagus.
Then once they have browned, we add our secret ingredients.
Add a few splashes of soy sauce and a couple of glugs of apple cider vinegar.
Cook this on medium heat until a lot of the vinegar has evaporated.
Plate them up and enjoy.
Then eagerly await next year’s scapes so you can do it all over again!