What Are Garlic Scapes & How Can I Use Them?

What Are Garlic Scapes?

Garlic ScapesPeople ask me what scapes are all the time?  Garlic scapes are the seed head that emerges from the plant. Hardneck types produce scapes,softneck types as a rule do not. When the scape emerges from the plant it is recommended to cut these off and more energy will be forced to bulb production.
 
If you leave the scapes to mature on the plant a bulbil will form. Although the bulbils are not true seeds, garlic can be reproduced by planting them. However it will take approximately 3 years of planting them to get large sized bulbs. Where as planting cloves from the bulb you can achieve full size garlic the following year.  Planting large cloves from bulb is best for those wanting to have a nice yield and get top dollar for their garlic. 
 

When to Cut Garlic Scapes?

If you decide to cut the scapes prior to harvest, save them to use in your cooking. They are similar to green onions and are a delicacy. They have many uses such as pesto, chimmichuri and pizza sauce. Garlic scapes can also be pickled like aspargras. 
 
I truly believe it is best to take the scapes off the garlic. By doing so you will notice up to a 30% increase in bulb size. You want to do this after the scape makes a full curl circle which is usually a week or 2 after it first emerges.

After the garlic is scaped is approximately 2 weeks prior to harvest. This is a good time to make the decision to either irrigate the garlic one final time or if soil moisture is adequate let the garlic dry down.

If you are wondering what to do with those scapes…click garlic scape recipes for some fabulous ideas!

What is your favorite garlic scape recipe?