What Are Garlic Scapes?
Garlic scapes are the tender end of the shoot in hard neck garlic varieties. As the plant grows in springtime, it sends up a shoot that is tender at first and later turns into bulbils. Those tiny bits of garlic are also edible. The scape is this white end and the first 5-6 inches of tender shoot.
When the shoot has a whitish end that looks like a bloom is starting to form, the scape is ready. The green part may be curled back on itself. Snap off the shoot approximately 4-6 inches below the end just as you would asparagus. The plant will snap off at it’s tender point.
Scapes taste like garlic. The flavor is lighter than garlic cloves but still clearly garlic. Dice and stir into any dish where you would use garlic. Scapes may be sautéed as is, chopped as a garnish for lettuce salad, used to flavor pasta salad, fried with potatoes or any number of dishes where garlic is a complement. Garlic scapes may also be pickled.
This past week we tried scapes in an asian inspired dish.
Beef Curry over Coconut Rice noodles.
6 ounces filet, trimmed of visible fat and cut into thin strips
5 garlic scapes, washed and chopped into a fine dice
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, finely diced
1/2 can coconut milk
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 package rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
2 cups chopped cabbage
2 Tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
curry seasoning to taste
Sauté the filet, garlic and ginger until beef starts to lose pink color. Add chopped cabbage, black pepper and cook until tender crisp. Add soy sauce and curry seasoning. Stir until heated through. Meanwhile, in a saucepan heat the coconut milk, add chopped rice noodles, stirring until heated through.
Serve beef and cabbage mixture over noodles. Add Sriracha sauce if desired.
The use of garlic scapes is limited only by your imagination. As an added bonus, snapping off the scapes will divert the plant’s energy into bulb development. So not only does the gardener get a fresh taste of garlic in the spring, the fall harvest will be improved.
If you have garlic, give scapes a try. If you don’t have your own and you are in the Charleston area, stop by the 18th Street Farmer’s Market this Saturday and pick up some from us.