Know Your Produce: Garlic scapes
Garlic scapes are the beginning of what would be the garlic plant’s flower; if they’re left on the garlic plant, less energy goes towards developing the head of garlic underground. So, by harvesting these scapes, you cooks get an early taste of the garlic to come down the road, and the bulbs can keep developing.
You can use scapes just like you would garlic; their flavor is milder, so you get the nice garlic taste without some of the bite. Use them on top of pizza, in pasta, and as a replacement for garlic in most other recipes.
Store: Store garlic scapes in a plastic bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator. Store away from your fruit, because garlic is generous with its fragrance, and you may not appreciate biting into a peach and tasting…garlic. Garlic scapes will keep up to two weeks if kept in an airtight container. They freeze well, too–blanched or not–but they tend to lose some of the garlicky heat during storage. You can remove the stalk tip above the pod before using; some people use the whole scape, but the pod and tip are more fibrous than the tender stalk.
Prep: Wash under cool water when ready to use. Whether you’re sautéing, pureeing, or dicing them, garlic scapes are a great addition to many different meals. Great in multiple forms, this ingredient gives many recipes an extra dash of flavor that will compliment a variety of summer dishes like mashed potatoes, stir fry, omelets, pesto, or pasta.
Use: Garlic scapes can be used almost anywhere garlic is; however, keep in mind it is milder in flavor, so you can use more of it per recipe. Scapes tend to get tough and/or lose flavor if overcooked, so start simple. To learn how much cooking is enough and how much is too much, cut scapes to desired lengths and sauté in a little olive oil over medium heat, adding salt and pepper to taste. The end result should be a side dish that is elegant and tasty.