Garlic Scapes are a thing of beauty.

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We haven’t known each other very long but I am already in love. We met last Summer. It was a beautiful day in June – a Tuesday actually. I always anticipated Tuesdays as a heaping box of fresh produce landed on my door step around noon every other week. This week was no different except when I removed the lid to reveal the glorious contents I found an item that looked quite odd. Citron green, slender stalks wildly curly with a small bud near the top.

I soon discovered that this – new – to – me ingredient was a Garlic Scape, the stem of a hardneck garlic. While the bulbs are busy maturing below the surface the young and mischievous flower stem curls.  Young garlic scapes are tender and delicious. I often describe the texture to that of a green bean but the flavor is unmistakable – similar to mature garlic but much more mellow.


Last season I chopped my scapes in one inch pieces, sauteed in brown butter and added fresh sweet corn. Before I finished licking my plate the garlic scape season was over and I spent the cold winter months dreaming of that sweet garlicky taste that I didn’t get enough of.

This year is different. When Dorie posted a recipe for Garlic Scape pesto I nearly dropped the computer and began hunting them down for myself. I held off for a few days – in the meantime anticipating what I was going to do with my little mischievous curls.


The Farmer’s market was teaming with scapes. I grabbed three large bunches and headed home, munching on a pint of incredibly red and sweet strawberries to tide me over.

In a matter of a few hours the scapes were transformed into Pesto, pickles and pizza.

The first bunch I tossed in a bowl with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt. They sizzled on a very hot grill pan then finished in the oven on a bed of mozzarella cheese and whole wheat crust.

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The second bunch was chopped up, tossed in a blender with lemon juice, roasted and chopped almonds, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt – making the most incredible pesto I have ever tasted. I followed Dorie’s recipe here (with an addition of lemon juice)


And finally – the third bunch is sitting on the pantry shelf pickling as we speak. This little project I am quite proud of as it was my first attempt at canning and so far I see no scary creatures growing in the jar. I call that a success.

Pickled Garlic Scapes

1       pound or more of scapes, whole

3       cups vinegar

5       cups water

¼     cup kosher salt

Fresh Basil Leaves

Chili Flakes

Boil the water, vinegar & salt solution. Pack hot jars with whole scapes, 1 fresh basil leaf, a pinch of chili flakes (depending on your spice tolerance) and then the brine. Put on lids, place in a hot water canner and boil for 45 minutes. Leave at least 2 weeks before serving to get best flavor.

I adapted the recipe from EverGreen Farms. With one bunch of scape I made 2 8 oz. jars and have an abundance of pickling liquid left ready and waiting for more scapes.


I hope to have many more scape experiments this season but I must act quickly as the season is very brief.

How do you eat your Garlic Scapes?

More Scape-tastic recipes:

White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip from zested

The inspiration for my pizza from Herbivoracious

Another version of pesto from Kayln’s Kitchen

Garlic Scape Soup from Going Local


69 Responses to “Garlic Scapes”

  1. Heather

    Love this post – I met them last summer too, and I just adore them. 🙂 Your pizza looks fabulous! It might just be the tipping point to finally picking up a grill pan.

    As far as other recipes go, the NYT white bean dip (on zested) is my fall-back; it’s awesome. I just re-read the accompanying article and realized that there are other garlicky recipes to try out at some point as well, like this one:

  2. Joseph Sokoloski

    I am growing fresh garlic and need some suggestions on the scapes .First time grower . My E mail address is If you wish to reply I can send you some pics of my garlic patch, that is not too big .

  3. Hillary

    These garlic scapes are popping up all over the food blogs – I must get myself to a farmer’s market! 🙂

  4. Ele

    Lovely photos! I have not seen scapes at my farmer’s market here in London. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled- this looks delicious.

  5. Anne

    Ahhh, garlic scapes are so lovely. I love your idea of garlic scape pizza–what a tasty idea to grill them first. I have used them in artichoke dip, chopped up on “garlic” bread, thrown into soups, and mixed in with stir fries. I have wished for a recipe that could celebrate their long loveliness, so the pickle idea is a welcome one.

  6. Courtney

    I’ve seen the garlic scapes at the farmers market and our local grocery store. The garlic ones look the best. YUM!

  7. Todd Hart

    I read about these on Friday. On Saturday I had about 20 scapes from a friends garden (she was just throwing them away). I made the pesto that night and it was amazing. Thanks for a great site.

  8. Erica Richards

    I like my scapes simply cut up and tossed in my salad. Refreshing & crunchy!

  9. LunaCafe

    Wonderful wonderful! They are gorgeous on the pizza. Love that you grilled them first.

    I am very remiss in the garlic scape category. Really must try to grab some before too late, if it isn’t already too late. University District Farmers Market, here I come (on Saturday).

    Also, love your blog remodel! #5FFB 🙂 …Susan

  10. Carol

    Please please someone tell me when you pick the scapes. I am getting many different answers to this and I would really like to it when rthey make one complete curl, two complete curls or when they first appear. Mine are ready to do something with. Thanks. Carol

  11. Leslie Haggstrom

    Last year was my first intro to garlic scapes…there is a garlic festival in an adjoining town, and all sorts of garlic items were sold, including pickles. Met some other garlic growers and found out I was supposed to remove the scapes …didn’t even know they had a name. Sure enough, last years garlic bulbs were much bigger. Just finished picking the scapes: one minute there were none, then a big rain and whoops! getting ready to pickle them, using a kosher dill package. See how it goes.

  12. Kelly

    Beautiful post. I came across it when googling scapes because I chose a bunch as part of my CSA share this week. Love the blog.

  13. Duitch Sloane

    what a gorgeous post! I found it by accident, looking for the exact definition of what those odd things I’ve been using actually were. The pizza will be a must try as soon as I find them again. I added them to roasted poblano chilis in the blender for the base of a Zacatecana sauce, and it was a huge success. Much mellower than regular garlic would have been, and a harmonious “green” taste that blended with that of the peppers.

  14. vegetable garden

    Growers often remove the scapes to push the plant’s energy toward bigger bulbs, and when harvested while they are young and tender, the scapes are delicious.

  15. Taryn

    I just discovered garlic scapes while living in China. The dish I’ve tried here is prepared with fried red chili and fried egg. As everything here, it requires a lot of oil!

  16. Bridgett

    Hard-neck garlic grows wild in my yard here in missouri (planted one time and that’s all I had to do). How did the pickled scapes turn out? I make garlic-dill cucumber pickles and my favorite part is the pickled garlic cloves and seeds at the bottom. Although I must say this year I may pesto them…

  17. Bonny

    Just made the garlic scape pesto following Dorie’s recipe…it was Ok but somewhat salty. When I came back to your site, I saw that you added lemon juice…that made all the difference. Please specify on your site that you added this…otherwise some people, like me, will simply copy Dorie’s recipe as is.

  18. April

    A friend gave me a bag of scapes and I’d never heard of them either. Your photos are great and they look delicious!!

  19. Andrea

    I just discovered these little beauties today, ate some, and then found your blog. They are amazing! I had them on homemade pizza, but I didn’t cook them first. I used fresh tomato, fresh whole basil leaves and the scapes. They are a fabulous addition and I have to wonder why I’ve never seen them on a restaurant menu before.

  20. kirat Patel

    We are fresh green garlic ( or baby garlic or garlic scapes ) all year around here in Texas. No one believes this. But we can consistently month after month for last six years. If anyone wants FRESH GREEN GARLIC, please send your inquires to

  21. Magic mesh

    It’s truly very complex in this active life to listen news on TV, so I only use world wide web for that reason, and take the latest information.

  22. Adrienne Schroeder

    Which part of the Garlic really ‘Scape do you cook I just found some in my flowers and I don’t really know what to do with it.

  23. Rosemary

    I had heard/read about garlic scapes a few times but had never seen then until my first visit to our farmers’ market this season. I bought 10 of them and now needed to know what to do with them. The cooking shows/competitions on TV didn’t help much. Thanks for the recipes and ideas; I am excited to make something wonderful!!


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