Garlic Scape – Making Garlic Scape Pesto
One of the first “vegetables” I harvest in the spring is garlic scapes, which are the unopened flower of the garlic plant. If you don’t grow garlic yourself, you can usually find these gems at the local farmer’s market from late May – mid June.
Garlic Scapes – their season is short, so don’t blink!
Scapes grow in the middle of the garlic plant, and about 3-4 weeks before the garlic is ready to be dug, the scape will shoot up, curl around once or twice, and keep growing upward. As soon as they curl around, they need to be cut, so the plant can focus on putting its energy into growing the bulb.
Scapes have a mild garlic taste, similar to, well, garlic. It can be used the same way you use garlic or green onion. I like it cut up in salad as well as roasted (sometimes with asparagus) in the oven or on the grill with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Break off the woody end, just like asparagus, and take off the flowering end – although some people eat that part as well.
My favorite way to use them is to make garlic scape pesto – I often mix the scapes with whatever herb I have that is growing at the same time, usually cilantro or basil. Just follow any pesto recipe, adding any herbs and any kind of nuts you wish. I like to make a good sized batch and freeze some of it (using mini muffin tins or ice cube trays,) pop them out, and put in freezer bags – then I eat pesto all winter, usually with some pasta for lunch. I also love it for a sauce on homemade pizza!
My basic recipe is:
Garlic Scape Pesto
3 cups (total) garlic scapes and any other herb, or just the scapes
1 cup walnuts/pistachios/pine nuts
1 cup parmesan
Juice from one lemon or lime
—Mix all together in food processor, then slowly drizzle in:
½ cup olive oil (or more depending on how thin you like it)
I like to try new recipes with my fresh veggies every summer, and here are links to some things I’m thinking of experimenting with:
The possibilities are endless, but the season isn’t, so if you are looking for something yummy and different, give garlic scapes a try!