Posts Tagged ‘garlic scapes’


That’s what I thought when the garlic scapes arrived.  Up until now, we’d only read about these – we’d never actually had any to play with.  Scapes are the “flower” stalks of garlic plants and interestingly, only certain varieties produce them.  I say “flower”, but in fact the head of the scape is a cluster of miniature cloves.

Our grower friends Ian and Diana recently cut the scapes off their garlic bulbs – a necessary process to ensure the plant doesn’t divert all its energy into flowering rather than forming cloves.  Di, bless her, arrived with a huge bag full for me…

A week later, Uncle Steve (Pete’s brother) dropped off another bag of scapes, although these were obviously from a different variety of garlic.  Whereas Diana’s were curled, these were straight…

As you can see, the heads are jam-packed with bulbils…

The entire scape is edible, although the tops were very garlicky indeed!  The stalks have a milder, but still very distinct, and very fresh, garlic flavour and aroma.

I didn’t want to waste this fabulous bounty, so I washed, chopped and froze about a third of the scapes…

Others were added to stirfries and stews for a gentle garlic kick.  The remainder were pulsed in the food processor with flaked almonds, salt and olive oil to create a delicious scape pistou – so called because unlike pesto, it doesn’t have any cheese added…

I’ve been stirring this garlicky paste into everything from pasta (and then I do add cheese) to fried rice.  It also makes a delicious dip spread over thin slices of sourdough.

I was right, wasn’t I?  It really was treasure.

PS. Have a look at what Linda’s doing with her homegrown scapes!

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Pete and I hit the markets recently the Spice Girl. We had a great time, despite the fact that I’d lost my voice (though Pete might say he had a great time because of that).

SG recently wrote about how she and I are “food twins”, which amused Pete enormously.  He commented that the Spice Girl and I were products of convergent evolution – two people from completely unrelated backgrounds who had serendipitously developed similar tastes and interests.  This was brought home when we passed a vegetable stand selling young Australian garlic.  It’s so rare to find local garlic at the markets that I immediately picked up four of the seven bunches on the table, then wandered off to look at other produce.  When I came back five minutes later, SG was buying the remaining three bunches…

Once home, I broke up most of the garlic into cloves and froze them for later use.  Did you know that garlic freezes brilliantly?  Separate the bulbs into cloves but don’t peel them, and freeze them in an airtight bag.   The defrosted garlic lacks the crisp texture of fresh, but the skins slip off easily, there is minimal loss of flavour and aroma, and it’s a breeze to mince them for cooking.  Since we’ve started doing this, we haven’t thrown away a single clove of mouldy garlic.

The green stems on the garlic were still quite tender and I was keen to try Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for garlic scape pesto.  I started by removing the outer layer of the stems and washing them to remove any residual dirt.


Then I simply popped them into my mini food processor with some flaked almonds, grated parmesan, olive oil and a little salt, and whizzed them until combined.  Because mine were the stems rather than the young scapes (flower shoots) Dorie used, the mix was drier and I needed to add a little hot water to loosen it up.

The pesto has a delicious garlic bite and will make a wonderful addition to soups and pasta.  I froze half in a ziplock bag and stashed the rest in the fridge with a piece of cling film pressed on the surface, to prevent oxidization.

As always, I’m happiest when I get to use something that would normally be discarded. Waste not, want not!


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