Posted Jun 08, 2022
What Are Garlic Scapes and Why Have I Never Heard of Them?
This week we got word from Jerry Boone at Froggy Meadow Farm that he will have garlic scapes for the first time this season at GCM Lincoln Park on June 11. We are really excited about having them at the market and since they are starting to make their return, we turned to Jerry for help with a little seasonal spotlight.
If you’ve never heard of garlic scapes, it’s probably because they're a unique seasonal product not frequently sold in grocery stores. Keep on reading to learn a bit more about garlic scapes and how to best use them.
To start, let's go over the basics. What the heck are garlic scapes? As can be seen in the photo above, garlic scapes are long and curvy green shoots that come from garlic plants. As you can tell, it looks pretty different from your traditional garlic clove and that’s because it is. Jerry shared with Green City Market that “garlic scapes are one of the garlic plants methods of reproduction. They are similar to a flowering bud. The garlic "bud" turns into a bulbil. It looks like a flower but is actually a collection of tiny garlic cloves. We harvest the scape before the bulbil emerges so the plant can focus its energy on the garlic bulb, its other means of reproduction.”
Wondering what they taste like? According to Jerry, their flavor resembles that of traditional garlic. “Garlic scapes have a strong garlic flavor with a definite vegetative quality. They have a crunchy texture and are long storing.”
If you’ve never heard of garlic scapes before and you're curious as to why that may be, it's likely because they are rarely available outside of farmers' markets. Jerry from Froggy Meadow explained that “garlic scapes only grow on hardneck garlic. Most grocery stores carry softneck varieties which do not produce scapes. Hardneck garlic is mostly grown by smaller farmers and is seldom seen in grocery stores.”
So, what do you do with them? Jerry recommends making a scape pesto and shared that pickled scapes are also very popular.
We know they are coming back to the market this Saturday, but garlic scapes are extremely seasonal. Jerry shared that “garlic scapes are harvested only once a year, typically in mid-June. Because they store so well you can often find them in farmers markets until mid July.” Given that they only are sold for a short period of time once a season, Jerry recommends buying extra and storing it. If you end up making a scape pesto, be sure to freeze some extras to enjoy in the off-season.
We are all excited to be picking some up at the market this Saturday. If you try some out, be sure to tag @greencitymarket and @froggymeadow on Instagram in any of your garlic scape creations.
Garlic scapes will be available at Froggy Meadow Farm at Green City Market Lincoln Park beginning on June 11. If you’re interested in learning more about them, feel free to stop by the Froggy Meadow tent and ask Jerry any other questions you may have.