The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Stir Fry With Garlic Scapes

June 16th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Posted in dinner, garden, Recipes

Scapes fresh from the garden

Scapes fresh from the garden

Plants want to reproduce. And gardeners are just as determined sometimes to prevent nature from taking its course.

Such is the case with certain varieties of garlic. They send up slender stems with an erstwhile flower at the end. But well before the flower ever opens, the dedicated gardener will nip that urge to procreate in the bud–so to speak–and redirect the plant’s efforts under the soil where a nice big bulb should be forming.

The stem and bud are known as the garlic “scape,” and this time of year you may see them for sale at the farmers market or even on restaurant menus. Your CSA farmer may be sending them to you in your weekly produce box. They are a rare treat. Mild but seductively scented of garlic, they can be cooked any number of ways and served all on their own, or used as an ingredient. They are most tender when picked before the stems begin to curl.

Even a small patch of garlic like ours will produce quite a few scapes. I decided to steam ours and toss some of them in a chicken stir fry made in the usual manner. Just add your steamed scapes (roughly chopped if you like, they can be quite long)to your mix of vegetables after they’ve been nearly cooked through. There’s no need to scorch the delicate stems.

The scapes will infuse your dish with delicate garlic flavor.

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  • melissarenee


    I’m going to pass on the beef tongue and skip directly to the garlic scapes, which I love. I get an occasional batch in my CSA delivery box and use them in stir fry or brown rice or whatever comes to mind. They’re delightful, aren’t they?!

    What a fun and interesting post!


  • Christa

    Ahh, scapes season! I used my scapes for pesto again this year. I blanched them and ground them up with some (also blanched) parsley. Olive oil and salt. Delicious as a sandwich spread.

  • Ed Bruske

    Melissa, no beef tongue? How about a green sauce with garlic scapes to go with the tongue? No? Oh, well. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of other uses for your scapes. Enjoy them while they last.

    Christa, it’s great to hear from you again. I can certainly see garlic scapes in a kind of pesto. Pesto is loaded with garlic. The scapes would make a milder version for sure. I suppose it’s a little early for homegrown basil, although I have seen some ready for harvest.