Garlic Scapes

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Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.
Alice May Brock

Until I started growing my own garlic a few years ago, I didn’t know that garlic was a two-product plant. Scapes are the flower stalks of hard-necked garlic plants, and they make a delicious spread. I use this as a base for pizza, instead of tomato sauce and it is fantastic. I freeze it in quantities sufficient for one or two small pizzas. When thawed to use, it retains that beautiful fresh green colour, and voila, a taste of summer any time of the year.

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Scapes are the curly bit on the plant. Cutting off the scapes directs more energy into the bulb to help it get larger. The bonus is that you get some garlic flavour to use earlier in the season.

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Here is my recipe for Scape Pesto:

350 g scapes
100 g parmesan cheese
125 ml olive oil
salt and pepper

Wash the scapes and cut into chunks that fit in your food processor. Process until fine. Add grated cheese, oil, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Use fresh or freeze. A bit of this in some sour cream makes a fine dip as well.

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11 comments

    1. I plant fall garlic, so will be planting in a month. Give it a try! It is lovely to have plump, shiny little cloves to use fresh. I added garlic to my garden five years ago and it is one of the easiest crops to grow. I love that it is the largest thing in my spring garden, due to its head start from fall planting. It makes me hopeful the rest of the garden will come up!

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      1. Interesting! Where do you live? So you keep the garlic growing outside all year round? I live in Paris and I wonder how and if that would be possible…

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      2. I live in Canada, zone 2 for gardening. Our winters plummet to -40C and the garlic thrives here. I think you should be safe with it in Paris! You want to make sure to purchase fall- planted (hard neck) garlic to do this. Spring- planted garlic is different and would not appreciate this treatment.

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      3. Oh that is good to know. I will add garlic seeds (or what do you call them?) in my shopping list 🙂 So you would say start planting when the autumn arrives?
        Thanks for this great idea. I am a big fan of garlic!!

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      4. I buy bulbs of garlic from a seed company, divide them into cloves and plant those (skins on). I would check a local seed catalogue to see what planting dates they suggest for your zone. For us, the leaves start turning colour at the end of August or first week of September. That is when I plant. Good luck! Let me know how it works for you.

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      5. Bulbs, that’s the word I forgot 🙂

        So you break the bulb, separate the cloves, and plant clove by clove?

        I will look for this when I visit a gardening shop and let you know 🙂

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