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Garlic Scapes

My little farm has an abundance of garlic scapes. They store for a few weeks in the fridge or can be chopped and frozen for later use. I am using them in my daily cooking and they cook a lot like green onions and add a nice garlicky background to food. It's not an overwhelming hot garlic flavor. They are mild and tender.
My question is about how can I promote these scapes to get them out there in someone's kitchen. I have listed them online at EatGreenDFW.com but I am looking for more ideas and recipes. I grow a lot of heirloom and things you don't find in most grocery stores so this problem comes up each season. People just don't know what to do with unfamiliar veggies and I need to get them to try them and learn how to use them.
Are you buying anything new and interesting?
I am sure a lot of market growers can benefit from your answers. We need to connect with adventurous cooks and eaters. Taking them to the farmer's market is only going to work if people are coming to the market with a willingness and desire to discover something new and delicious.

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    Blender, scapes, olive oil, vinegar, salt/pepper. Puree it, and then use it as a dressing for pasta salad with some decent parmesan, and chiffonaded fresh basil along with the standard veggies you'd use. Tortellini salad shines. I'll also use this same dressing for sandwiches.
    Scapes are unbelievably delicious if you like garlic.
    I prefer them raw, but another thing I do every year is make a pesto out of them.
    I have been eagerly awaiting my stash from my csa guy this year. Should be coming soon.

    7 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      Oh, that sounds wonderful. Thank you! Do you mind if I post these to my CSA list members? Yep, it's garlic scape season! I want to make up a CSA guide for all the veggies I grow. Sometimes people just need a little nudge to fall in love.

      1. re: mossgathers

        Post away. I'll use 3 or 4 whole scapes per cup of evoo. Season it how you like from there. More or less scapes as you wish, too. It's more of a thought than a recipe.

      2. re: gordeaux

        Part of the problem is that folks, including yours truly, don't know how to conveniently prepare them. My wild scapes are such tiny little things that require much time to handle and peel. It seems hardly worth the effort.

        1. re: condie

          Not sure those would be worth the effort. The local scapes I get get are like two feet long and curled up. I don't have to peel them for my uses.

            1. re: Chowrin

              I had misunderstood what was meant by "garlic scapes". I thought it meant the small seeds that come at the top of the garlic plant. They are as good as the garlic bulbs, but are a lot more trouble. I am now better informed on that subject.

          1. re: gordeaux

            Thank you so much for your post, gordeaux. It gave me inspiration to finally use the scapes I picked two weeks ago. No blender needed, though, just a garlic press. Incredibly delicious with S&P and just a bit of EVOO. Slathered it in on tomato and toasted bagel. Wow, wow, wow , these were so good plus distinctive from garlic in the store.

          2. There was a whole thing about scapes in the NY Times last year, with a bunch of recipes and an article. If you go to their website and search "garlic scapes" you'll find them, but here's a link:
            Maybe that'll be useful for you in marketing? After reading that I went to the farmers market and bought a ton; they were great.

            1. Thanks for the reminder. Tomorrow I'll head to Pete's Produce Farm in Westtown, PA for my first garlic scapes fix of the season.

              1. They were all over the farmers market I went to (in DC) this weekend -- so many vendors had them! I'd never used them before, but yum ... and so pretty. :)

                1. Come to our local farmer's markets and we'll buy them! If you are in the SF Bay Area, you'd have no trouble finding buyers.

                  1. I love garlic spouts - which are straighter (and more mature?) than scapes (the ones that I have seen which are curled up). Sprouts are a bit stronger in flavour than scapes, but still quite delicious. They are a common green used in some regional Chinese cuisine (eg Hunan and Sichuan). Stirfries are an obvious use. I often use then in place of asparagus in some dishes. Here's a pic of some appetizers I made a few weeks ago - green beans, garlic sprouts wrapped in Serrano ham and BBQ'd:

                    3 Replies
                        1. re: fmed

                          I found some more of my recent photos (grilled garlic sprouts with BC Spot Prawns which were in season recently). A smidge of olive oil and sea salt, then grill on a hot BBQ for maybe a minute:

                        2. I buy them at my farmer's market.. I love them, and I will use some of the ideas here in the future. Do you have a farmer's market where you can sell yours? Could you make copies of some recipes that use scapes and distribute them to shoppers?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: NYCkaren

                            I have found a home for most of the scapes. There are farmer's markets here and I plan to participate later in the season. My main concern was promoting the scapes to my CSA or finding others in the community who will give them a try. I think they are unfamiliar in the local markets but with more farms and local growers that will change.
                            Now it's time to dig the garlic!

                          2. In Spain they are called ajetes and are commonly found chopped scrambled with eggs and you can add green asparagus and/or shrimp. YUM!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sparkalina

                              you "can add" MUCH more than asparagus and shrimp.

                            2. I'm confused. I have seen many recipes advise removing green shoots before using garlic because the cooked shoots will be bitter. I always pry them out before cooking. Sounds like I'm missing something good?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: kim_bookless

                                Shoots and scapes might be two completely different things. Scapes are not bitter at all.

                                1. re: kim_bookless

                                  Scapes are stalks from the garlic plant. This is not the same thing as the green shoots in your garlic bulb that you (and I) pry out before using the bulb.

                                  Here's a photo of a scape

                                  More info w/ photo

                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                    Oh! So THAT's a scape!
                                    It's no wonder I thought the scapes, while very good and edible, are lots of trouble. I was using those little seeds that develop later. These tiny seed "scapes", if soaked in water for a while, are easier to peel, but are still a lot of work to prepare.
                                    Your photo's are much appreciated.

                                2. I had never heard of scapes until yesterday. Then a friend gave me a paper grocery bag full of them! Wow! It's like I hit the lottery! Boy are they tasty!

                                  I'll turn some into pesto, eat some, pickle some, freeze some. I may even dehydrate some, just because I can.

                                  1. Has anyone here ever tried to transplant wild garlic into their garden? I just discovered these growing along the draininage ditches on the sides of our (very) long driveway. What a find!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: amyzan

                                      Sure! Transplanting wild garlic is the easiest thing in the world. Just dig them up; separate the bulbs; and plant them about anywhere - preferably near the kitchen. They'll grow like weeds. In fact that can be the problem with them. If not contained, they can quickly become a weed.

                                    2. Yes! Pesto made with garlic scapes is WONDERFUL! Just use the scapes as the main ingredient, omit the basil from the pesto, otherwise prepare as usual. (You can garnish your finished dish with some fresh basil leaves, if desired, but the scapes will overpower the basil if used together in the pesto. DO use nuts though, to mellow it out. I use whatever nuts I have on hand, though I DO love pine nuts. It's just that they are too pricey for day-to-day use.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: FibroLady

                                        Oh Lordy, DITTO on the pesto! I love this stuff on everything, steaks, baked potatoes, and of course pasta. I have a couple hundred plants in my side garden bed right now and have already harvested some for my first batch of pesto.

                                        1. re: FibroLady

                                          I made garlic scape-spinach pesto on Friday, and put it on the pizza I was making ... yum! Everyone loved it! :)

                                        2. i had no idea what garlic scapes were until i just looked them up.
                                          garlic shoots (there's a chinese name for them but i don't know the anglicized version), which are bigger and look like solid scallions, are YUM.
                                          used to be able to buy them in the supermarkets in singapore - very simple preparation of 2" lengths stir-fried with oyster sauce, occasionally with shrimp or chicken strips, was a staple.

                                          1. Thanks so much for this thread! Yesterday I harvested about half a pound of garlic scapes from the property (and there are more.) I made a pesto of olive oil, salt and blanched and ice water dunked scapes in the blender. Other than that the mixture was awfully hard on the blender, sort of mucilaginous, it was easy. I mixed in some grana padano and topped whole wheat spaghetti with chicken, red peppers, the scape pesto, and olive oil breadcrumbs. Absolutely delicious!

                                            1. I live near the Garlic Farm in Granby, CT, and tried scapes this week. They taste quite garlicky when raw and quite mild when cooked for a while. The texture, even when cooked, is outstanding, like perfectly done asparagus. Lots of people I talked to at the farm stand freeze the scapes without blanching them. I may try it both ways.

                                              I've made pesto w/ chopped scapes (not the flower part and top), a little olive oil, and some lime juice, plus lots of freshly grated parmesan. Yum! I put it on toasted slices of baguette, but it would also be great tossed w/ hot pasta or topping a piece of grilled salmon. We also made a frittata with scapes and other veggies, and the scapes lost most of the garlicky kick they had when uncooked...I think we'll need to experiment with how long to cook them for the right amount of garlic flavor for different dishes. We also added some to a quick soup we made today, and they tasted mild, but the broth had a lovely soft garlic flavor. They caramelize very nicely in a skillet.

                                              One person I met at the Garlic Farm stand said she grills scapes in a grilling basket. The way she described the results made my mouth water. I hope to have a chance to try it before the end of the brief season--the Garlic Farm says only one more weekend of scapes for this year. Then it's just what we've managed to freeze to last us through till next June. Sigh. At least by then we'll probably have local tomatoes.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: InSeason

                                                Hi mossgathers,

                                                I'd love to get some of your scapes and other heirloom products. Where aree you located? Would you ship if too far away?


                                              2. I am a farmers market vendor who also grows garlic...the trick is to let people taste touch and smell the garlic scapes...I also pickle them, make pesto out of them, freeze them.....once people taste them they are hooked.

                                                1. Not an answer, but another question:
                                                  Not wanting to waste a batch of CSA garlic scapes before heading out of town, I made pesto. I was in a rush, didn’t measure anything, just used a food processor to combine the garlic scapes (including the little bud ends), grated asiago/parmesan, EVOO & toasted pine nuts & S&P. The pine nuts were Trader Joe’s toasted, not brand new but had been stored in the freezer.
                                                  Anyway, it came out the right texture & a lovely color; it even tastes pretty good at first bite but the aftertaste is quite bitter.
                                                  Any suggestions for how to counteract? If I combine it with other flavors, will the effect be reduced, or will I just be spoiling the entire dinner? And what went wrong? I hate to blame the scapes or the pine nuts, but really didn't taste as I went along...

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: annomy

                                                    If you are unfamiliar with the "pine-mouth" syndrome, it could be that, rather than the garlic.http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/654197 TJ pine nuts are the variety implicated in this syndrome.

                                                    I once made green garlic (a.k.a. garlic chive) pesto and found it too sharp. I wound up using it in ways where it would get a little cooking to mellow it out.

                                                    1. re: annomy

                                                      Agree with gregarious - I get pine mouth from inferior Russian/Vietnamese/Korean pine nuts. The pine nuts I've bought at Wegmans are from the Mediterranean, and the only ones I'll buy.

                                                      Having said that, I made a pistachio-garlic scape pesto a few weeks ago - I held out the grated Parmesan while freezing, as it was recommended to wait to put in the cheese. What I tasted before I froze it was nice and garlicky, and not bitter.

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        < I held out the grated Parmesan while freezing, as it was recommended to wait to put in the cheese.>
                                                        Great tip, thanks! What recipe did you use?

                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                          This one from Epicurious:


                                                          I put the pesto into 1/2 cup containers, with a note written on masking tape "Add 1/3 cup Parm cheese and heavy cream" (as I'll probably use it as a pasta sauce).

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Oh, if only I had your freezer organization skills. Thanks for the recipe, LW. Much appreciated!

                                                    2. I people who come to our farmer's markets scoop up the scapes the minute they are put on the vendors tables.