Garlic scapes - how to use them in cooking

New ingredients | Garlic Scapes plus recipes

The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight grows, sources and produces the best quality garlic bulbs and speciality garlic products. As a third-generation family farm, their passion for excellent garlic inspired-produce has led to an ever-increasing range of sauces, mayonnaises, and garlicky chutneys. An unsung hero of the garlic plant is the flowering head, otherwise known as the garlic scape. On Saturday 15th June at 4pm, Josephine Boswell, daughter of The Garlic Farmer, will be sharing the wonders and versatility of this otherwise wasted ingredient and the many ways you can use it. Her free talk will also involve garlic for health, cooking with garlic, and how to grow your own – book now.

Meanwhile, read more about garlic scapes and why they’re an unsung hero in the kitchen from Barnaby Edwards, director of The Garlic Farm.

There are very many reasons why we focus so much care and attention on garlic here at our farm on the Isle of Wight. We describe garlic as ‘the heart of all flavour’. This phrase captures the central role that garlic has played in so many culinary styles, across so many cultures, for so many years… it’s also a hint that garlic is good for you, in all senses!

Garlic scapes growing in the field

In addition to delivering a flavour-packed, health-giving bulb, garlic delivers a lesser known surprise; the scape. Garlic exists in two main types; soft-neck and hard-neck. It’s the hard-neck type that shoots a stem (scape) up from the centre of the bulb that will produce a flower eventually. The energy cost of this flower growth reduces the actual bulb size, so the scapes are trimmed off while young to allow maximum bulb growth.

Many tonnes of scapes are often discarded in a garlic growing cycle as there is little mainstream awareness (and therefore market). The produce is just ploughed back in on many farms; a great shame as it is a massively nutritious and delicious crop. There are two key points on sustainability here: the first is food waste, the second is economic. Aside from the natural advantage of making full use of all elements of produce, the incremental revenue of scapes can help sustain garlic farmers.

Garlic scapes used in restaurant cooking

We look forward to the exotic protrusions from our plants in early May and cherish these spears of crisp and mellow garlic flavoured greenery; the texture is similar to asparagus. For some ideas on how to use garlic scapes in cooking please visit the website.

In summary, by putting garlic scapes on your plates during their short, single-harvest season (approximately mid-May to late-June) you will be combatting food-waste, supporting the livelihoods of garlic farmers and enjoying one of nature’s unsung heroes.

Bringing people and good food together