garlic scapes

i managed to get a couple of shots taken before my camera died recently, hopefully i’ll be going to get some expert advice on monday for a replacement.

garlic scapes are coming on hard and fast.  we harvested something on the order of 20 pounds the other day and more to harvest today.

garlic scape

the scape is the false seed head of the garlic, not the flower many folks think it to be.  it actually forms tiny bulbils up top, which if the scape was allowed to fully form would eventually make its way to the ground and sprout new garlic.  it would take a couple of years for anything of a large size bulb to form.  i’m thinking of saving some of the bulbils and seeing how they do for growing green garlic.

since most folks are looking to grow the garlic bulb and not the bulbils, convention wisdom is that you should cut the scape so the garlic puts all it’s energy into forming a bulb.  this is of course not without controversy.  many growers claim to see no difference in bulb size and that those with scapes left on keep better.  the part about keeping better makes great sense to me – as the extra material on the plant would make for more surface are and cure the bulbs better before processing them.  the size difference i’m not so sure about.

no matter what i go about the task of removing scapes each year, if for no other reason than my garlic supply being exhausted and needing a fix.  i usually remove the scape as soon as it has made a full loop, as that’s about as long as it’s gonna get and if i wait too long it gets tough and woody.  no need to use a knife, simply snapping the scape where it meets the top leaf works just fine.

scapes can be used in anything you would use garlic in – though it does have a milder flavor so you need to use more.  i find it especially good in stir-frys with all those greens that are coming on this time of year, as well as an excellent pesto.

we are selling scapes at the market this week and should be for another couple of weeks. get em while they last, it will still be a month at least before any garlic shows up for sales.

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2 responses to “garlic scapes

  1. Hi Patrick, I’ve been keeping my nose to your Garlic information, and it’s keeping me quite busy…I want to be able to use Row covers this year and I’m grateful for the info you gave about doing it cheaply..hubby and I are retired and our income is quite limited. Having a garden this year and canning has given us much pleasure and plenty of food to hold on to…Saying all of that to say thank you for posting clear info about the covered Rows…We will have to start now in order to be on time… I bought the book “The Complete Book of Garlic”by Ted Jordan Meredith..it’s an excellant book for me …and your Blog kinda sticks it to me like glue :o)…Guess I’m long winded today..Ginny

  2. Pingback: garlic scape solution | little house on the urban prairie

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