#168: The Season of Garlic Scapes
15 ways to use garlic scapes including a recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto, plus how to grow your own garlic.
Welcome to Summer and all my new subscribers, too! I’m delighted you are here. I wanted to share with you that the next Bake with Kate session will be How To Make Any Fresh Fruit Pie on July 9th. You’ll learn to make a seasonal fruit filling with the fruit of your choice, the Traditional Art of the Pie Dough, and a lattice crust, too, in this July 9th class. You can also use frozen fruit for the filling. For more information and to register here’s the link. Hope to see you there!
Now on to garlic scapes and what to do with them!
The Season for Garlic Scapes
What’s a Scape?
A scape is the flower the garlic bulb sends up. Scapes get clipped off so the energy of the plant goes to forming the bulb and not the flower. But, don’t discard your scapes as they are much anticipated and can be used in so many delicious ways.
Last week I clipped the 200 scapes from my garlic crop, came back into the kitchen and, within an hour, made 14 cups of garlic scape pesto. So easy to make. Really! I keep a 1-cup container of it in the fridge and the rest goes into the freezer in small yogurt size containers that I pull out as needed.
I also freeze the pesto in ice cube trays and paper muffin cups and then pull one out when I need just a small amount.
Where to Find Garlic Scapes
Now is the time you’ll find garlic scapes at local farmers markets and in the produce section at some grocery stores. I’ve even seen local gardeners and farmers offering scapes for sale on Facebook Marketplace in my area. You can grow your own, too, and you’ll find that info here but first, let’s get to the recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto and ways to use the scapes and pesto.
Recipe: Garlic Scape Pesto
What You’ll Need
Knife and cutting mat
Food processor with a metal blade
About 1 cup (100 g) fresh garlic scapes chopped to about 2.5”
2 cloves garlic chopped up a bit
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts (nuts can be left out if you prefer)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
How to Do It
1. Add the chopped up scapes, chopped cloves of garlic, and salt into the work-bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until the pieces are broken down way small. Scrape down the sides of the work-bowl with a flexible spatula and process again.
2. Add 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts (if you want) and process again.
3. Add 1/2 cup olive oil and process. Scrape down sides and process again.
4. Add 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and pulse a few times until incorporated.
100g of garlic scapes makes about one cup of garlic scape pesto. You can double the amounts when making, too.
15 Ways to Use Garlic Scapes
Chop, freeze, and add to soups and stews through the year.
Chop, sauté, and add to omelettes and scrambles.
Stir fry with soy sauce, a little brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.
Here’s a recipe for a Tomato and Garlic Scape Chutney that is on my list to try.
Top baked potatoes with pesto.
Make pesto stuffed eggs as an alternative to deviled eggs.
Add garlic scape pesto to a vinaigrette made with champagne vinegar and drizzle over sliced sun ripened tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves.
- , who also writes here on Substack, pickles her garlic scapes.
Toss garlic scapes with oil, set them on the grill, turn often until they are a little charred. Add S&P, a little sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a squeeze of lemon to taste.
Cook up some new potatoes and roll them around in garlic scape pesto.
Add a little plop of pesto to the top of gazpacho.
Make a frittata with pesto, and sauteed mushrooms and Italian sausage.
For a savory oatmeal breakfast add chopped up bacon, goat cheese, marinated red peppers, and garlic scape pesto to your bowl and stir it around a bit.
I “doctor-up” frozen cauliflower crust pizza with tiny plops of pesto, marinated red peppers, and extra grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Follow the regular directions on the box for baking. At the end, broil the top for 1 minute or so to get it nicely done.
Pesto is great in a grilled cheese sandwich, and I’ve used it as the “butter” on the outside of bread when making one, too.
As you might be able to tell by now, I love both the scapes and the pesto I make with them. I could go on with more ideas for you but I’ll stop here as I would love to know how you might use them, too.
Grow Your Own
Garlic is an easy crop to grow. Last year’s harvest of 200 head was enough for Duncan and Olivia’s needs and mine, plus there was some to give away for others to start and propagate their own crops. A few years back, D&O shared a few head of our garlic with a local organic farm where we have a CSA. They propagated it and now have enough to include in their CSA boxes!
In October, I brought back one head of garlic from a farmstand on Chebeague Island in Maine. I had planned to plant the cloves in my garden but couldn’t find the one head when I got back from the trip. Low and behold, it showed up in the pocket of a vest when my good friend Cindy and I were walking our dogs. Anyway, hers is the garden the cloves went into and so far they look like they’re doing great. I’m looking forward to us sharing and propagating the harvest of the Chebeague Island garlic.
Below are links to previous newsletters and videos that will take you through planting, harvesting, and peeling.
I’ve always been amazed at how easy garlic is to grow. Give it a try!