Garlic Scapes – What are they? What you can do with them…

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garlic-scapeEvery year we get lots of questions about garlic scapes. What are they? What do you do with them?

How do they taste? ….

Scapes are tops put up by hard neck garlic varieties. It’s a signal that the garlic is shifting into seed producing. To get a larger garlic bulb, we remove the scapes to encourage continued bulb growth.

These scapes taste like a slightly milder version of the cloves that will be harvested later. And you can use them wherever you would use the cloves.

The season for scapes is very short, just 2 to 3 weeks. On our farms, we grow four varieties of garlic maturing at different rates, so we usually have fresh scapes for a bit longer.


Here’s How You Can Keep Them Fresh

When you get them home, it’s best to keep them refrigerated. Wrapping them in a plastic bag will help them keep from drying out. They can also be set cut end down, in a glass, with an inch or so of clean cold water and set in the refrigerator. If you won’t be able to use them up in a week or so, it’s best to preserve them for later.


Here’s How You Can Preserve Them for Later Use

Here are some quick and easy ways to preserve scapes for later.

  1. Freeze
  2. Dehydrate
  3. Make Garlic Oil


How to Freeze Garlic Scapes

You can simply wash, trim and drain and then set them on a cookie sheet and let them freeze in the freezer for a day or two. Then repack into bags for longer term freezer storage.

If you prefer, you can also cut up the scapes into shorter pieces. Put them into bags, seal well and freeze for later use. They’ll easily store in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you want some scapes you don’t need to thaw them, simply use the frozen scapes directly in your favourite recipes. They will have lost their crunchiness, but not their flavour… so once they’ve been frozen we recommend using them cooked.

You can also use them to prepare a pesto or make up some Garlic Scape and Pea Shoot Pasta.

How to Dehydrate Garlic Scapes

What you’ll need:

  • garlic scapes
  • a sharp knife
  • a food processor
  • a dehydrator

What to do:

  1. First clean and pat dry your scapes.
  2. Use a knife or scissors to trim off the pointy tip on each scape. Trim it just above the fat bulbous part. (You can use the trimmings to flavour soups and stews.)
  3. Cut the scapes into 2 cm or 1 inch long pieces.
  4. Put into a food processor or blender and chop into chunky bits, not too fine. (You can do this with a knife, but it just takes longer.)
  5. Spread in a single layer in the tray of your dehydrator.
  6. Set on the fruit or vegetable setting and start dehydrating.
  7. It may take 4 to 7 hours to finish, but can take longer depending on humidity. The garlic scapes are ready when they are brittle yet still a bright green in colour. When you take a pinch full between your fingers and thumb you can crumble it.

Tip: If you want a fine texture, simply chop them finer in a food processor. If you make it very fine, you can mix it with salt and dried herbs of your choice for easy seasoning.


How to Make Garlic Oil

What you’ll need:

  • scapes
  • a clean sterile jar
  • cooking or olive oil
  • salt


What to do:

  1. Take a handful of scapes and cut them into short sections. Put them in a clean sterile jar.
  2. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. Add about ¼ cup of oil, to cover the scapes.
  4. Add another layer of scapes and more salt and oil until jar is full.
  5. Put the lid on tightly to keep air out.
  6. Place in the refrigerator.
  7. Let them sit for a week.

Now you’ll have garlic-flavoured oil for frying and more.







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