Garlic Scapes … it’s that time of year.

“garlic scapes” by Sarah Oh is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 

About the end of June, first weeks of July, you will find these odd little bits of green in farmers’ markets across North America. I’ve never seen them in regular grocery stores myself, so I suppose that’s why so few people know about garlic scapes.

Introduce yourself to the never humble garlic scape. It’s the flower stalk of the garlic plant and is nipped off at this time of year to prevent the garlic plant from flowering and eventually going to seed. This forces the plant to divert its growth into building a bigger and better bulb, which is the usual way they are cultivated.

So while they look vaguely like a spring onion, except a lot stiffer, what is to be done with them? In a short answer, anything you would use garlic in, you can substitute garlic scapes. Salads, marinades, soups, stir fries, roasted, baked or raw. You can barbeque them or pickle them. They are usually chopped with a sharp knife if being used in some dish but I find it easier to chop them with a good set of kitchen shears.

Tonight they graced the potato salad. Tomorrow they’ll be in my stir fry. They’re a versatile seasonal treat so feel free to pick them up over the next little while at your favourite farmers’ market.

Garlic Scapes