Saving money buying food is top priority for Canadians which means finding ways to use all edible parts of what we grow instead of composting them is important.
Patience is important when growing organic garlic but the secret is you don’t have to wait as long as you thought. For years farmers and gardeners would compost Garlic Scapes until someone said, hey these are delicious. I guess all it takes is for one person to try something and if it works it may just change the way we appreciate nature.
WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU DO WITH GARLIC SCAPES? EAT THEM OF COURSE.
If you’re growing garlic for the first time and come across these green, long, curly looking stalks with a small flower don’t let them waste, throw them away or leave them on your garlic plant. These garlic curls are the next best thing to fresh organic garlic bulbs.
The reason you want to remove the garlic scapes from your garlic plant is because it will suck the life out of your precious garlic bulbs below the ground. You want all the nutrients in the last month of the growing season to be directed to the bulb and not the scape which is why removing them is imperative.
Once you snap the scapes from the garlic plant give them a smell. Garlic lovers will rejoice because the aroma of garlic is not pungent but enough to know that you can create something special with them.
Cleaning your garlic scapes are fairly easy with a quick wash under cold water and trimming off any hard parts like you would asparagus. If it feels tough or looks brown cut it off.
You can use scapes the same way you use garlic which makes growing them far less expensive than buying organic garlic at the grocery store. According to the Organic Price Tracker Canada website garlic scapes in 2015 were selling in Western Ontario for $4.00lb.
When I tell you that we had boatloads of garlic scapes to snap and harvest this season, I’m not joking and by goodness are they delicious and worth the effort. Garlic scapes are far milder than garlic and a cross between spring onions and garlic all in one which is why they are so popular and very expensive to buy.
We’ve come up with few ways for using scapes in our house especially since we had a massive harvest this summer. The garlic scapes season just finished for Ontario in mid to late June and we had to come up with a plan to make use of them so there was no food waste.
This is pretty much what we did with our harvest of garlic scapes and to think this is just the beginning as we will be digging up the organic garlic bulbs by the end of July to hang and dry. We will have organic garlic all-year-long which makes garlic growing double the fun.
How to cook with garlic scapes?
You can cook garlic scapes, preserve them or freeze them all of which create delicious flavours for whatever you use them in. You can’t keep garlic scapes around for a long time so make sure you clean and refrigerate them and find something to do with them. If you aren’t quite sure you can also freeze your scapes for later use but best used fresh and preserved in a pesto or other means such as those below.
- Pickled Garlic Scapes– Prepare them just as you would making homemade pickels. Great to munch on like pickles or to drop in your favourite mixed drink such as a Caesar.
- BBQ Garlic Scapes– Delicious charred with butter and salt
- Pan-fried Garlic Scapes in butter– If you don’t have a BBQ simply pan-frying on the stove-top works just as well.
- Garlic Scapes Pesto– This is a simple way to preserve your garlic scapes to use in all sorts of recipes.
- Garlic Scapes butter– Jazz up your butter with minced garlic scapes to create a garlic butter to die for!!!
- Garlic Scape Soup– Garlic scapes make a delicious broth base for just about any soup that you’d want a hint or garlic or onion in.
- Garlic Scapes Salad Dressing– This was an easy recipe for us because we use garlic quite a bit in our salad dressing especially for summer tomato salad. Simply add some of your garlic pesto or minced scapes to your dressing and shake away.
How to make Garlic Scapes Pesto
We decided to do all of the above with our garlic scapes but today I wanted to focus on the garlic scapes pesto because this is something that we love and perhaps you might too. Whether you stumble across garlic scapes for sale at your local farmers market, grocery store or are growing garlic yourself we hope you dive in and give them a try.
- 15-20 garlic scapes
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper (add as desired)
- 1 teaspoon salt (add as required to taste)
- 1 cup toasted cashew nuts
- ½ cup toasted walnut pieces
- 1 cup avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
- Wash and clean your garlic scapes trimming off any hard bits, brown parts or wilted ends.
- In a food processor add your cleaned scapes and mince them up.
- Add the nuts, seasoning and cheese and stream the avocado oil through the top of the processor until the pesto is combined.
- Scrape out your pesto into a container or mason jar and store in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.
- Yield approximately 3-4 cups or small mason jars.
I will warn you, garlic scapes produce gas so eat them in moderation because we found out the hard way, lol. Let me know what you think of this recipe if you make it.
Discussion: What is your favourite way to use garlic? Leave me a comment below.