The Great Garlic Scape

Hello garden gals and guys!

I've got a little guessing game for you today. Do you know what these are?


Here's a close-up so you can get a better look:



My lovely cousin, Shelly, sent me a text the other day with a photo she took and asked me what they were.  She guessed peppers.  Her hubby guessed garlic.  Her hubby was right.  Sorry, Shelly!   

What you are looking at are garlic scapes.  If you don't know what they are keep reading.   

What Is A Garlic Scape?

A garlic scape is the flower bud of the garlic plant.  If you planted your garlic the previous fall, right around June the plant sends up what will become the flower of the plant.  They shoot straight up and then begin to curl.   

But did you know garlic scapes are edible?  

Wait...Did You Say Garlic Scapes Are Edible?

Heck yeah!  They taste just like garlic and can be used just like you would use garlic in any of your recipes that call for it.  You can make garlic scape pesto, roast them, saute them, pickle them, add them to soups, or just cut them up and eat them raw.  Any way you make them, they're delicious.  

There are a bazillion recipes on the Internet.  Just Google 'recipes for garlic scapes' and find one that suits your tastes buds.

How To Harvest A Garlic Scape

Harvesting garlic scapes is simple.  First, you wait to cut the scapes until they are curled.  Some will be in an upside down 'u' some will curl and make a complete loop.  As long as they aren't straight, they're ready to go.  If the scape is still straight, it will be tough and you won't be able to eat it.

Trim off any tough ends or stringy pieces. Remove any yellowed flower tips.

That's it.  Easy peasy.

Here is a picture of Shelly cutting her scapes.


It's not hard, just go down to the base of the scape and snip away.  Here's Shelly's scapes after she harvested them:


And here's another shot of the happy gardener with her harvest:


Do I Have To Cut The Scapes?

No, you don't have to. But you should. 

Here's why. 

If you leave the scapes on the garlic, the plant will focus its energy on producing flowers and not the garlic bulbs.  That means small garlic bulbs with very little flavor.  So cut those scapes as soon as they have curled.  

Is The Garlic Ready, Too?

Nope. 

Once you cut the scapes, the plant will put its energy into growing the bulbs. They'll get nice and fat and full of garlic goodness.  Let them keep growing until late July or August.  Harvest your bulbs when you see the tops yellow and fall over, before they are completely dry. 

Not Growing Garlic But Want To Try Scapes?

You can check your local grocery store and see if they have them.  They'd be in the produce aisle.  If you find them there, leave a note in the comments and let me know where.  

But you'll most likely have to try one of your local farmer's markets.  

That's how I found out about them.  When I was in the Farmer Trainee program, the farm that I worked on sold them.  We would harvest the scapes as soon as they curled and gather them into bunches and bring them to market.  

And they went fast!

So if you're going to your farmer's market to get them, don't dawdle, get there when the market opens.  Scapes are very popular. 

It's Your Turn

Did you enjoy today's post?  There's three things I'd like you to do for me:

  1.  Leave a note in the comments.  
  2. Subscribe to my blog so you can get an email every time there's a new post! 
  3. Share this blog with your friends and family because sharing is caring.  :-)

A special thanks to my cousin, Shelly, for the beautiful photos she took of her garden, and for suggesting that I make this my next blog post.

If you've got a question about what's growing on in your garden, send me an email.  It just might become my next blog post!

Until next time...

Happy farming!!












Comments

  1. I've heard/read about these scapes. I don't think I have the kind of garlic that has them though. When I planted, I used cloves from the pantry to see what happens but... no scapes.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Nikki! All garlic plants grow scapes. Are yours still growing? When did you plant them?

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    2. They are still growing. I didn't plant until early spring. I'm pretty sure I was supposed to plant in the fall, but I didn't.

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    3. Yeah, if you planted in the spring, you won't see them until late summer. Patience, young jedi. :-)

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