If you are a garlic lover, you may already be familiar with garlic scapes. These vibrant green stalks are the curly tops of garlic bulbs and are packed with flavor. In this article, we will explore different ways to use garlic scapes in your cooking, from simple recipes to creative ideas. Whether you grow your own garlic or buy it from the store, this guide will help you make the most of this delicious ingredient.
What are Garlic Scapes?
Garlic scapes are the flower stems that emerge from garlic bulbs. They are usually harvested in early summer when they start to curl. These scapes are often removed from the plant to encourage the growth of the garlic bulb. While they may look like an unusual ingredient, they have a mild garlic flavor and a crisp texture that make them highly versatile in the kitchen.
Where Can You Find Garlic Scapes?
You can find garlic scapes at farmers’ markets, specialty grocery stores, or even in your own garden if you grow garlic. They are usually available for a short period in early summer, so make sure to keep an eye out for them. When buying garlic scapes, choose ones that are firm, bright green, and free from any signs of wilting or discoloration.
How to Store Garlic Scapes?
If you’re not planning to use garlic scapes right away, it’s essential to store them properly to maintain their freshness. Start by trimming the ends and removing any wilted or discolored parts. Then, place them in a plastic bag or airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. Garlic scapes can stay fresh for up to two weeks when stored this way.
What Can You Do with Garlic Scapes?
1. Make Garlic Scape Pesto
One of the most popular ways to use garlic scapes is by making a delicious pesto. Simply blend together garlic scapes, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Use this flavorful pesto as a spread, pasta sauce, or mix it into your favorite dishes for an extra punch of garlic goodness.
2. Grill or Roast Them
Grilling or roasting garlic scapes brings out their natural sweetness and adds a smoky flavor. Toss them in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook them on a hot grill or in the oven until they are tender and slightly charred. These grilled or roasted garlic scapes make a fantastic side dish or a topping for pizzas and salads.
3. Add Them to Stir-Fries
Garlic scapes can add a burst of flavor to stir-fries. Chop them into bite-sized pieces and sauté them with your favorite vegetables and proteins. Their mild garlic flavor will infuse the entire dish, giving it a delicious kick. You can also use garlic scapes in noodle dishes, fried rice, or even omelets.
4. Pickle Them
If you enjoy pickled vegetables, try pickling garlic scapes. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Pour the hot brine over trimmed garlic scapes in a jar and let them cool to room temperature. Seal the jar and refrigerate it for at least a week before enjoying the tangy and crunchy pickled garlic scapes.
5. Use Them in Soups and Stocks
Garlic scapes can add depth and flavor to soups and stocks. Chop them into small pieces and sauté them with onions and other aromatic vegetables before adding the broth. The scapes will infuse their unique garlic taste into the liquid, resulting in a rich and flavorful base for your soups and stocks.
6. Make Garlic Scape Butter
Garlic scape butter is a simple yet delicious condiment that you can use in various dishes. Blend together softened butter and chopped garlic scapes until well combined. Spread this flavorful butter on bread, melt it over grilled meats, or use it to sauté vegetables for an extra burst of garlic flavor.
7. Create Garlic Scape Infused Oil
Infused oils are a fantastic way to preserve the flavor of garlic scapes. Chop the scapes into small pieces and place them in a jar. Pour heated oil over the scapes and let it cool to room temperature. Strain the oil and store it in a cool, dark place. Use this garlic scape-infused oil to drizzle over salads, pasta dishes, or grilled vegetables.
8. Incorporate Them into Dips and Spreads
Garlic scapes can take your dips and spreads to the next level. Chop them finely and mix them into hummus, guacamole, or cream cheese. The scapes will add a vibrant color and a mild garlic flavor that will elevate your favorite snacks and appetizers.
9. Try Garlic Scape Salsa
If you’re looking for a unique twist on traditional salsa, try making garlic scape salsa. Chop garlic scapes, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and jalapenos. Mix them together with lime juice and salt for a refreshing and tangy salsa with a hint of garlic. Serve it with tortilla chips or use it as a topping for grilled meats and fish.
In conclusion, garlic scapes are a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can elevate your cooking in various ways. From pesto to pickles and everything in between, there are countless ways to enjoy these curly greens. So next time you come across garlic scapes, don’t hesitate to experiment and discover new and exciting flavors in your kitchen.