Mary asked about picking and prepping garlic scapes in our last blog. “I’m sure. I’d love a few pointers regarding picking (how low down do you pick them?) and prepping (the flower bud goes in the trash, correct?)”
How to Pick Garlic Scapes
Don’t pick this much of the plant. I picked this to get a better picture.
A scape is garlic’s flower stem. On this stem, the flower is still developing and is closed. The scape is young and pliable. You might be able to pull the scape from the plant but usually you’ll need to snap it off. Snap or pull it from just above the last frond. If you pick early enough the entire stem is soft. If the bottom is woody you’ll need to cut it off and use only the pliable portion.
If I’ve picked them early enough the flower bud is tiny and I use it in my pesto and pickled scapes. If they’re larger, like the one in this photo, I use one or two for looks. They are edible but a bit more fibrous. This jar went into the fridge to be eaten first because it doesn’t have a cover that seals.
Garlic Scape Pesto
10-20 garlic scapes, depending on size
1/3 cup nuts (walnut, pistachio, pine nut, almonds; may also use sunflower seeds)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
Remove flower buds from scapes. Chop scapes into one to two inch pieces that won’t get pushed to the outer edge of the blender or food processor.
Process scapes and nuts or sunflower seeds until smooth, adding olive oil as you go. Stir in Parmesan cheese by hand.
Garlic scape pesto is excellent on Bruscetta, pasta, crackers and even as a spread in your sandwich. Want to spice up your spaghetti sauce? Add some pesto, either garlic scape or basil. If you have leftover basil and garlic scape pestoes you can mix them together. It doesn’t matter whether the nuts match, it will be tasty.