What exactly are garlic scapes?
Before hardneck garlic bulbs (such as Elephant Garlic, Chesnok Wight, Purple Moldovan and Lautrec Wight) fully mature and are ready to be harvested, they throw out long, curly scapes, which hold the flower head of the plant. Left to their own devices, garlic scapes would ultimately produce tiny bulbs of their own, or 'bulbils'; but because these divert food and energy away from the star attraction, here at The Isle of Wight Garlic Farm we prefer to snip the scapes off, enabling the garlic bulbs to increase in size - sometimes allowing them to grow another 50%! Happily though, the scapes don't go to waste...
Are garlic scapes edible?
These tender green stalks are both edible and delicious, rather like tender, young asparagus with a delicious hint of garlic flavour. So if you grow your own garlic at home, you can trim the scapes away, knowing that you are both maximising your garlic bulb's potential, and harvesting a gourmet delicacy for the next meal.
How can you cook scapes?
• Lightly fry the chopped scape stalks, then scatter them into salads or stir through pasta dishes
• Use to garnish risottos and pizza
• Stir-fry a bunch of scapes, and serve them with a garlicky aioli dipping sauce.
Or enjoy them like we cook them in the restaurant by dipping scapes into a tempura batter, deep-frying, and serving with a sweet chilli sauce.
• Replace basil leaves with chopped scapes in our seasonal pesto recipe
• Snip scapes finely into softened butter, and spread on baguettes to make a less pungent version of garlic bread.
As with many culinary delicacies, the season for scapes is short and sweet. So pop into The Garlic Farm or order them online to snag yourself some fresh scapes - before they all escape!
Visit our recipe pages for more garlic scape ideas