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- the flower head of the plant. Left to their own devices, garlic scapes would eventually produce tiny bulbs of their own, called bulbils. But because these divert food and energy away from the star attraction, we prefer to snip the scapes off, enabling the garlic bulb to increase in size - sometimes allowing them to grow another 50%! Happily though, the scapes don't go to waste. These tender green stalks are both edible and delicious, comparable in texture to young asparagus, with a delicate hint of garlic flavour. So if you are growing your own garlic at home, you can trim the scapes away freely, knowing that you are both maximising your garlic bulb's potential, and harvesting yourself a very tasty morsel to enjoy.
How to use scapes in the kitchen:
• Lightly fry then stir them into salads, stir through pasta dishes
• Garnish on risottos and pizza
• Stir-fry a whole tangle of scapes, and serve with aioli dipping sauce.
• Replace basil with chopped scapes to make a delicate pesto
• Snip 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 next week to snag yourself some fresh scapes or visit our website, before they all escape!
You can check out our recipe pages for more garlic scape ideas!