Garlic Scapes: Complete Guide to Cooking & Health Benefits

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Last Updated on June 19, 2024

Have you ever wondered about the long green stems poking out of your garlic? Those are garlic scapes

Not only can you eat garlic scapes, they are delicious and have multiple uses. Garlic scapes also have lots of health benefits, similar to regular garlic. Read on to learn everyhting you need to know about them. 

garlic scapes

Garlic Scapes

The green stalks are an often overlooked part of the garlic plant, but did you know you can eat them?

They are called garlic scapes, and they add a unique flavor and a touch of elegance to your meals.

Ready to learn more?

What Are Garlic Scapes?

Garlic scapes are the tender stem and flower stalk that sprout from hardneck garlic plants in late spring or early summer.

They’re the green shoots that curl above the plant and end in a pointed bud, which will bloom into a flower if not harvested.

If you grow your own garlic, you’ll be familiar with these green stems. But maybe you didn’t realize you could use them?

garlic scapes in garden

When Are Garlic Scapes in Season?

Garlic scapes have a relatively short season. They typically start to appear in farmers’ markets and on the plants themselves in late May or early June, and they’re usually at their peak in late June.

This is the best time to buy or harvest them for optimal flavor.

Learn everything you need to know about harvesting and preserving garlic, including the scapes in this video: Harvest & Preserve Garlic [Without Curing]

preserving garlic video

What Do Garlic Scapes Taste Like?

Garlic scapes have a milder flavor than raw garlic cloves. It’s still garlicky but has a fresh, green note that’s reminiscent of green beans or green onion.

Garlic Scapes Vs Garlic Ramps

While both are part of the allium family and share some similarities, garlic scapes and ramps are different.

Ramps are wild leeks, whereas scapes come from domesticated garlic plants. Ramps have a stronger flavor compared to the milder taste of scapes.

Garlic Scapes Vs. Green Garlic

Green garlic is young garlic harvested before the bulb fully forms, while scapes are the flower stems of mature garlic plants.

Both offer a softer take on the typical garlic flavor, but scapes have a more pronounced crunchiness.

Where to Buy Garlic Scapes

You can find fresh garlic scapes at a local farmer’s market, or even grocery stores that carry obscure produce.

If you’re growing your own garlic, you can harvest the scapes yourself.

How to Harvest

To harvest garlic scapes, simply snap off the green stem at the base near the leaves. It should come away easily, leaving the rest of the plant intact.

How to Store

Garlic scapes have a good shelf life. You can keep them at room temperature for a few days, but for longer storage, place them in plastic bags and store in the refrigerator.

They’ll stay fresh for about two weeks.

Other Garlic Posts You Might Like:

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Ways to Preserve Garlic Scapes

  • Blanching and Freezing: This method helps retain the bright green color and optimal flavor of garlic scapes. First, blanch the scapes in boiling water for a few seconds, then immediately transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, pat dry and store in freezer bags. 
  • Pickling: Start by preparing a pickling brine with vinegar, water, sugar, and spices. Place the cleaned and trimmed garlic scapes in a jar and pour over the brine until they are fully submerged. Seal the jar tightly and store in a cool, dark place. After a few weeks, you’ll have tangy, crunchy scapes ready to be used as a side dish or snack.
  • Garlic Scape Butter: Mix finely chopped scapes with softened butter, then roll it into a log using plastic wrap. Store in the fridge or freezer until needed. Garlic scape butter is excellent on grilled pork chops or green beans.

preparing garlic scapes

How to Cook With Garlic Scapes

  1. Stir Fry: Stir-frying is a great way to cook garlic scapes. Simply chop them up and toss them in a hot pan with a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat with your other veggies.
  2. Garlic Scape Pesto: One of my favorite ways to cook with garlic scapes is by making pesto. Combine fresh garlic scapes, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth. This pesto has a unique flavor and can be used on homemade pizza or pasta.
  3. Roasted Garlic Scapes: Toss garlic scapes with olive oil and spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Roast at 400°F until they are tender. Roasting brings out the garlicky flavor of the scapes.
  4. Sautéed Garlic Scapes: Sautéing is a simple and delicious way to cook garlic scapes. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add chopped scapes, and sauté until they are tender.
  5. Grilled Garlic Scapes: If you’re grilling pork chops or veggies, throw some garlic scapes on the grill too! Toss them in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until charred.
  6. Garlic Scape Soup: Sauté scapes and green onions in olive oil, then add homemade chicken stock and cook until the scapes are tender. Blend until smooth, then serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top.
  7. Garlic Scape Hummus: Give your white bean hummus a twist by adding garlic scapes. Blend white beans, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and chopped garlic scapes in a food processor until smooth. Enjoy this flavorful dip with veggies or plantain chips.

chopped garlic scapes

Nutrition of Garlic Scapes

  • Vitamins: Garlic scapes are rich in vitamins like Vitamin C, which is essential for boosting immunity, and Vitamin B6, crucial for brain development and function.
  • Minerals: They contain minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
  • Antioxidants: Garlic scapes have an abundance of antioxidants: allicin, quercetin, vitamin C, selenium, and maganese.
  • Flavonoids: These compounds found in garlic scapes have anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. 

You might also enjoy reading: Quercetin in Garlic

garlic scapes on a cutting board

Health Benefits of Garlic Scapes

Just like the garlic bulb itself, scapes are packed with beneficial nutrients. 

Boosts Immunity

Garlic scapes are full antioxidants and vitamins that can help boost your immune system. 

May Lower Blood Pressure

Thanks to their high allicin content, garlic scapes may help reduce blood pressure. 

Heart Health

Garlic scapes are known for their heart-friendly properties. They help in reducing cholesterol levels and prevent hardening of arteries. 

Promotes Bone Health

With an abundance of vitamins and minerals, garlic scapes promote bone health. 

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The compounds in garlic scapes have anti-inflammatory properties which can aid in reducing swelling and pain in the body. 

Improves Digestion

Garlic scapes can help improve digestion by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes. 

Cancer Prevention

Some studies suggest that the compounds found in garlic scapes may have potential cancer-fighting properties. 

Good for Eye Health

The Vitamin A found in garlic scapes is beneficial for eye health. 

Promotes Healthy Skin

With their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, garlic scapes may help improve skin health. 

Antibacterial Properties

The antibacterial properties of garlic scapes can help fight against various bacteria. 

Helps Control Blood Sugar

Garlic scapes may help control blood sugar levels, making them beneficial for people with diabetes. 

garlic cloves and scapes

Promotes Respiratory Health

Consuming garlic scapes could potentially aid in maintaining respiratory health due to their anti-inflammatory properties. 

More Questions About Garlic Scapes

Do you still wonder some things about garlic scapes? Here are some frequently asked questions:

What Part of Garlic Scape Do You Use?

You can use the whole thing! From the bulbous flower bud down to where it becomes too tough to snap easily by hand.

Is Green Garlic the Same as Garlic Scapes?

No, as mentioned earlier, green garlic is young garlic harvested before it matures while scapes are flower stems from mature plants.

How Do You Prepare and Eat Garlic Scapes?

You can eat garlic scapes raw or cooked. They’re delicious chopped up in salads, sautéed as a side dish, or blended into a pesto.

For preparation, simply rinse them under cold water and then trim off the very end of the stem and the top part of the flower bud.

Should I Cut Scapes Off Garlic?

Yes, it’s a good idea to remove the scapes so that the garlic plants can put more energy into producing a bigger and more flavorful bulb.

Do Garlic Scapes Taste Like Garlic?

Garlic scapes have a milder, fresher flavor than mature garlic bulbs. It’s a great alternative for those who find the taste of raw garlic cloves too strong.

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