July 2, 2007

Garlic scapes

Part of eating locally is trying the strange things that appear in the garden. Angelika planted garlic around her apple trees last year, and at least one variety is producing 'scapes', a sort of curled flowering stem.

Garlic scapes growing.
Garlic scapes growing.

Apparently you should trim the scapes to focus the plant's energy on the bulbs, and they're tasty too. I've seen them at BB Farms (on Route 13/366) and at Greenstar this weekend. Raw, they taste kind of like green onions or scallions with a garlic bite, but they sweeten as they cook.

Here's the first in a series of recipes based on local ingredients. The project starts August 1st, so I'm still working out of Vermont butter and New Jersey mushrooms, but this should all be doable with locally-found ingredients.

Butter-Fried Scapes


  • Butter. to taste

  • 10-12 Garlic scapes

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

  • Spinach or mallow* (optional)

Melt butter in large frying pan over medium heat. Clean scapes and cut into one inch pieces (or whatever size you find convenient.) Cook scapes in butter for 2-3 minutes, then add mushrooms. Cook for 5-6 minutes, covered if you want. If desired, then add spinach or mallow and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly, and serve.

* - Mallow is a common weed. You may have it in your yard without knowing it. If you pick it, just be certain that it really is mallow.

Garlic scapes cooking with mushrooms.
Garlic scapes cooking with mushrooms.

We have enough scapes that I cooked this without mallow on Saturday and served it over macaroni. Then last night we had it with mallow and served it with fresh bread. I still have about half the scapes left!

Posted by simon at July 2, 2007 8:46 AM in
Note on photos


Linda said:

I just tried scapes for the first time last night. Sauted in olive oil, added a bit of water to steam them. Delicious. Will cut them into bite-sized pieces next time - the curly stems didn't want to stay in the pan!

KAZ said:

I make pesto with scapes, and it's fabulous. Just follow any regular pesto recipe WITHOUT ADDING GARLIC. You can freeze it in ice cube trays minus the cheese, pop it out, defrost it, add cheese, and heat for use all winter. Since you're eating locally, I recommend it!!

Take pasta aglio olio recipe. Subtract garlic. Add scapes. Very good.