Just a few weeks ago spring garlic was in season. Now, the spotlight moves to garlic scapes. As garlic matures, so do the plant’s flowerless green stalks (a.k.a. the scapes). If left intact, the stalks will eventually grow small bulbs, which can be planted. But usually they’re chopped off, to give the growing garlic as much strength and nutrients as possible. Garlic bulbs aren’t the only ones to benefit from these trimmings—chefs and eaters alike can enjoy the long, curling, aromatic stalks in delicious spring dishes.
Where: Scapes grow from hardneck garlic, which prefers a cooler climate, so you’ll have the best luck finding them in areas like the Northeast and the Midwest.
What to look for: While the long, super-curly scapes are beautiful, the smaller, shorter ones are much more tender. Look for bright green scapes that have just one curl.
Flavor profile: Scapes have a mellow, garlicky flavor with a hint of spice. Think green onion meets garlic meets chive.
Health benefits: Scapes are high in antioxidants and could help reoxygenate blood and protect the liver. They also contain allium compounds, which are thought to help protect against osteoarthritis.
How to eat them: Trimmed of the tips and bottoms, the scapes are delicious simply sautéed in olive oil for an easy spring side dish. They can also be made into pesto, tossed with olive oil and grilled, or chopped and added to a stir-fry or creamy pasta.