Garlic scapes are like curly cords of garlicky grass that give incredible depth of flavor to just about anything they touch. Scapes are young, green shoots that emerge from garlic plants early in their development, and give a fresh, herbaceous hint of chivey garlic to meals, compound butters, and next-level green juices.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of adding garlic scapes to your favorite dishes, you’re in for a real treat. Especially since they unfurl from garlic plants in the spring for a very short time, you’ll be grilling these and chopping them into soups, veggie recipes and braised greens like there’s no tomorrow!
At FruitStand, we look forward to sending you a beautiful package of these hard to find garlic delicacies from our small specialty farms partners. Keep reading to learn all about garlic scapes!
Garlic scapes are the stem and flower bud of a hardneck garlic plant (Allium sativum). These early shoots of the garlic plant have hints of onion, scallion and garlic in its unique flavor profile. Garlic scapes offer much less heat than typical garlic, with a taste that’s even more “green”. Biting into a garlic scape may remind you of what it’s like to eat a delicious asparagus stalk with complex flavors of other bulbous aromatic vegetables like onion, shallot, garlic and chives.
Scapes grow from the garlic bulb then coil and look like long, curly green beans. They can grow to be up to 18 inches long, and are just a skosh thinner than a pencil. The curly garlic scape tendril and the yellowish white bud, are all completely edible. Consume the entire scape, or you can discard the bud depending on your preference.
Garlic scapes are ready to eat immediately after harvesting, so they can go from garden to plate in no time. Use these flavorful scapes in any recipe that calls for garlic, chives or scallions. They’re a good source of protein, vitamin C, and calcium and, like garlic cloves, are known to help to prevent heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer. They can also provide immune system support and reduce inflammation.
Ramps (aka wild leeks) can sometimes be confused with garlic scapes, since they also tend to be available in early spring. However, ramps are their own plant (unlike scapes, which grow from a garlic plant), and are easily differentiated by their long, feather-shaped leaf rather than the curlicue of our friend, the garlic scape.
Garlic is originally native to Central Asia and Iran. Nowadays, you can find garlic scapes growing in gardens all over the world! The world's top producers of garlic scapes today are China, India, South Korea, Egypt and Russia. The majority of U.S. garlic scapes are grown in California, followed by Oregon and Nevada.
Garlic scapes have an incredibly short seasonally. They are typically harvested from the end of May to early July, making June prime time for these curly greens.
Whether the garlic scapes are certified organic will depend on the farm where it was grown. At FruitStand, we only partner with the best specialty farms for exceptional quality of produce. When each harvest is available, we'll tell you whether the fruit is considered organic or conventional.
Still curious about garlic scapes? Send us your garlic scapes questions and unboxing videos any time on Instagram @Fruitstandcom! Even if the scape season has passed, fruit discussions have no season! Join our FruitStand Facebook Group today to meet with other fruit and veggie lovers who are just as obsessed as you are.