Garlic scapes are the tender stem and flower bud of a hardneck garlic plant. (Hardneck garlic is the kind of garlic that typically grows in Canada and the northeastern U.S.) Scapes first grow straight out of the garlic bulb, then coil. When harvested, they look like long, curly green beans.
Garlic scapes taste like a unique blend of onion, scallion and garlic. However, scapes are usually less fiery and have a fresher, “greener” taste than the actual garlic bulbs. The texture is similar to that of asparagus.
Scapes are very versatile and can be used in an assortment of recipes. They can be used anywhere you might otherwise use garlic cloves or scallions. (If using, we would recommend not adding garlic as the flavour can be overwhelming.) They can be sautéed, pureed, roasted and pickled. (Sautéed in butter and sprinkled with salt, they make an excellent burger or sandwich topping, or even a kid-friendly side vegetable.) They’re great in Asian cuisine, such as a stir fry. They can be diced and used in omelettes, frittatas, soups and salads. They can be eaten cooked or raw—though, be warned, they are a little tough when raw. They can also be pickled—get our pickled garlic scape recipe here—then used in salads in place of gherkins or other pickles.