Hey what are these curly green things I got today?

Those are garlic scapes!

Garlic scapes are the part of the garlic plant that grows above ground. If you look closely when you’re out on a hike, you can see wild garlic scapes growing along the side of the trail. If you were to pull one out of the ground, you’d see a familiar bulb of garlic at the bottom. So if you’re ever in the woods and in need of garlic (?), now you know what to look for because you have some (cultivated) garlic scapes of your own!

You can use garlic scapes in many recipes just like you would use garlic cloves. However, garlic scapes can be a bit tougher than cloves. At this curly stage of their lives, they should be quite tender. As the garlic plant gets older, though, the scape straightens out and begins to toughen. At that stage, I like to throw them in my food processor or give them a pounding with the mortar and pestle before I add them to any dishes.

Usually scapes don’t taste nearly as strong as the bulb, so don’t plan on doing a 1-1 substitution in recipes. Taste as you go and add as necessary!

Also! If you are not much of a garlic person, think again before you throw these beauties away. Just imagine them in a vase with some showy flowers, or in a stem vase all by themselves. How cool is that?