© Denzil Green
Garlic scapes are the spiral, curly stalks that grow on hardneck garlic (and not on other types of garlic) that would ultimately bear the flower of the plant. They have a mild garlic taste.
As the stalks grow, they curl upward, and the bulb starts to develop on the end. They eventually straighten.
They are harvested in the spring. Removing scapes from garlic being grown for bulbs can help to improve bulb yield in about 20 to 30% of the cases, though some think that bulbs will have a better storage life if the scape is allowed to develop normally.
When harvesting the scapes for eating, they need to be harvested after the bulb has developed but when the stalk is still curled, and just before it has started to uncurl. The stalks will be tough, chewy and starchy once they have straightened out.
Scapes from some varieties of hardneck garlic are better than other hardnecks for flavour.
Chop off and discard the tip above the bulb.
Garlic scapes can be chopped up raw for use in salads, or pickled. They can also be stir-fried (add to stir-fry at the last minute), crushed into a pesto, sautéd, grilled or steamed.
Some people feel that scapes lose most of their flavour if they are heated at all. Some people who sauté them say to do say only for about 20 seconds.
They will be tough if overcooked.
Store in fridge for up to 3 weeks.