The gourmet garlic plants have begun sending up their tall, curly, seed stalks which are commonly referred to as garlic scapes.
While some garlic growers leave the scapes on the plants, I always remove them as they appear during the early summer months.
Remove or Leave Garlic Seed Stalks on the Plants?
One argument for removing the garlic scapes is that it allows the plant to focus on the formation of the bulbs which are growing underground and will ultimately result in larger cloves of delicious home grown garlic.
On the other hand I’ve also seen claims that removing the scapes is simply extra work and has absolutely no impact on the size or quality of the garlic bulbs that will be harvested later in the summer. Some growers even claim that leaving the seed stalks on the plants will somehow improve the keeping quality of the mature garlic bulbs.
Using Garlic Scapes in the Gourmet Kitchen
I haven’t attempted to conduct any type of test to determine which option is more beneficial, but my preference is to remove the garlic scapes shortly after they appear. One bonus if you remove the seed stalks is that they are edible and can be included in your favorite recipes to add a little garlic flavor and nutrition to your meals.
To harvest the young garlic scapes simply grasp and bend them over where they grow out of the plant until they easily snap off.
Garlic lovers may enjoy the scapes raw in salads or pureed into dishes like guacamole or pesto. For the fainter hearted among you the scapes are great and much milder served as a cooked vegetable or used as a seasoning just like garlic cloves.
Scapes can also be included in stir fry’s, soups, pasta dishes, sauces, and your favorite recipes that are enhanced by the flavor of garlic. You can also just toss them in along with other vegetables that you are steaming, boiling, roasting, or even grilling.
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