About Garlic Scapes
Most people don’t think of it that way, but garlic is really a flowering bulb that happens to be edible. Just as you grow more daffodils by allowing the bulbs to divide, you grow more garlic through replanting cloves. However, hardneck garlic does produce a flower stalk and flower head (the scapes), and some seeds. Since the seeds may be sterile, most gardeners find other uses for the edible scapes.
Hardneck varieties are readily available; most do best in colder climates. Try the following:
- German Red – hot, spicy, lingering flavor.
- Spanish Roja – large bulbs with strong flavor.
- Bogatyr – stores well.
- Persian Star – medium spicy flavor.
- Siberian – mild flavor, likes cold climates.
- German Stiffneck – strong flavor, stores well.
- Asian Rose – early, very strong flavor.
- Gregory’s China Rose – one of the few for warm climates.
Freezing Garlic Scapes
Perhaps the easiest method, freezing garlic scapes is simple. Cut off the scapes, wash the scapes well with water, shake off the excess and chop to the desired length. Place in a freezer bag and squeeze out excess air or pack into a container. Place in the freezer. You can also use your favorite pesto recipe, with scapes in place of greens or herbs, and freeze the pesto.
Fermenting Garlic Scapes
Wash and rinse scapes. Cut off tough ends. Some people ferment flower heads separately from stalks. Add desired seasonings, such as dill or red pepper flakes. Mix a brine of two tablespoons sea salt to one quart of water. Pour the brine over the scapes and push them down in the jar so they are completely covered. Let sit on counter, loosely covered, for about a week, then refrigerate.
Drying Garlic Scapes
Wash the scapes in plain water and shake off the excess water. Trim off the flower buds and cut the stalks into quarter-inch slices or pulse in a food processor until they are chunky but not pureed. Place on the food trays of a dehydrator or in a single layer on a baking sheet for oven drying. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the dehydrator or set the oven at 115°F (45°C). Dry four to six hours, until crisp and brittle.