Market Watch: Garlic Scapes

by in Farmers' Market Finds, Healthy Recipes, July 15, 2009

Chances are you won’t find garlic scapes anywhere but your farmers’ market or CSA box. They’re often passed over because people may not be sure what they are. Take advantage of this local food delicacy, but act fast, the curly green shoots are only available for a short time.

Scapes grow off of the bulb of garlic; sometimes they’ll even have small flowers attached. They have a mild garlic flavor and sturdy but easily chewable texture. Grill or sauté them and then toss them with veggies and pasta or even mashed up with potatoes. On this trip to the market, I also grabbed some gorgeous purple basil and headed home whip up some garlic scape pesto (recipe below). It works great on toasted bread, added to pasta or mixed in with scrambled eggs.

(Read more about the health benefits of garlic.)

Garlic Scape Pesto
Makes 1 2/3 cups

1 cup chopped garlic scapes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese*
1/4 teaspoonkosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine scapes, basil, nuts, cheese, salt, pepper, lemon juice and zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until smooth. With the machine on, slowly pour in olive oil.

*If you plan on freezing the pesto (ice cube trays work great for this), leave out the Parmesan cheese and add it to the pesto when thawed.

Nutrition Info:
(per tablespoon)
Calories: 64
Total Fat: 6.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Total Carbohydrate: 1 gram
Protein: 1 gram
Sodium: 44 milligrams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Fiber: 0 grams

TELL US: Have you ever tried garlic scapes?

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Comments (7)

  1. katie says:

    I receive scapes in my CSA share all the time and love using them in pesto in place of garlic or as an addition! We grill them as well but find them to be a bit tough to chew through when cooked this way. I added them to a chicken soup with bunch of recipes which gave it a wonderful subtle garlic flavor. They are a fun conversation starter as well because most people are not familiar with them! Great info!

    I love to toss pesto with grilled zucchini or with oven roasted broccoli!! Toss Broccoli in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes @ 500…remove and toss with pesto! It is divine :)

  2. Kathryn says:

    I discovered them growing on the side of my yard just a few days ago, and had no idea what they were. I was curious about them and planning to do some internet research to try to identify them, so imagine my surprise when I saw them on your blog as the Market Watch item! What a pleasant coincidence! I will definitely try them out in some recipes, and I can't wait for the garlic itself to mature. Thanks!

  3. Alice says:

    I love to slice them very finely and add as a garnish to fresh pasta dishes, salads or chimmichurri. Chopped and sauteed, they're great anywhere you might use garlic or scallions. They keep really well in the vegetable drawer, and I even chop and freeze them to add a little fresh garlic taste to sauces year round.

  4. jen says:

    I bought a pot of growing garlic chives are these scapes another name for the same veggie?

  5. danawhite says:

    Hi Jen – They are different. Garlic chives are a type of herb with an onion and garlic flavor. Garlic scapes are shoots that grow from a bulb of garlic as it matures. Scapes and chives have a similar flavor, but scapes are thicker and have a more intense garlic taste.

  6. Linda says:

    Michele I found this receipe online and remembered you mentioned garlic scapes.
    This is a neat web page

  7. Randi says:

    The farmers market that I go to sell them so we've been enjoying them for a few weeks. We cook them like asparagus or green beans. They are great.

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