Healthy, In-Season & Sustainable Food: Garlic Scapes

Whether or not you’ve ever used them, it’s hard to escape garlic scapes when you visit your local Farmer’s Market at his time of year. For those new to these tasty and healthy treats, garlic scapes are the curled-up soft stems of garlic plants. 

These wonder stems, which have the mild, sweet kick of scallions and chives with just a little bit of garlic’s pungent bite, are a good source of protein, vitamin C, and calcium and, like cloves of garlic, can help to prevent heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer. 

Plus, when you use scapes, you’re also helping farmers eliminate some food waste: garlic scapes are cut from the garlic plants months before the bulbs are harvested. This step is an important part of garlic farming and keeps the plant from expending valuable energy (and losing flavor) on flowering. Instead of sending all that good food to the compost heap, why not use it to nurture your body and delight your tastebuds? 

You can use garlic scapes in many recipes you already make. Sub them in for basil in your pesto. Or use them instead of garlic bulbs in your hummus. 

They are yummy both cooked and raw, so toss them into stir fries, omelets, soups, salads, and roasted veggie medleys – any recipe that could use a little garlicky goodness can be improved by a few chopped up or minced garlic scapes.