For those of you familiar with the CSA, these curly beauties are a welcome friend. For those new to the CSA experience, this may be one of your first “experimental” vegetables.
Garlic scapes are the flower stalk of the garlic plant. Garlic grows underground, where the flower stalk begins its journey, curling upward as it grows. As the bulb gets harder, its green shoot pokes its way through the ground. There is a two-three week window when this pliable tendril can be pulled off and harvested as a delicacy for the hard-core and the occasional garlic consumers among us.
When garlic scapes are still in full curl, they are tender and delicious. They provide a subtle garlic flavor and crunchiness if added to salads, soups, and stir-frys, and are most often utilized in creating a spicy pesto sauce. When cooked the garlic flavor is fresh and light rather than pungent and enduring. Therefore, the risk in adding it to your favorite dishes is low.
Use chopped fresh in salads, or sauté with other vegetables as you would regular garlic. Just cut off the flower bud, and the rest of the scape can be used much like scallions.
A quick idea for meat eaters: wrap scapes in bacon, and cook bacon as usual in a frying pan! Just cover while cooking to ensure the scapes are well cooked too!