How to Store Garlic Scapes (Plus Recipes and Ideas to Use)

Everything you need to know about garlic scapes! Learn the best ways to store garlic scapes plus ways to use them in cooking!

Different parts of the garlic plant

Did you know that there are actually three different ways you can eat a garlic plant? The first way of course is with the garlic bulb, but there are other parts of the plant that you can eat during certain times in the growing process. The next way is in the early spring before the garlic bulb has formed. This is called green garlic and it is similar to the structure of a green onion. It is basically just a very young garlic plant and you would just pull the green stalks out of the ground in this stage to eat the whole plant. You can use it just as you would a green onion, raw or sautéed. It will add a garlic flavor but a little more mild and sweeter than the garlic bulb. 

Garlic growing

The final way to eat the garlic plant is with the garlic scape. Once the garlic bulb starts developing under the ground the plant will start to produce a long round green steam out of the top of the plant that curls around. This is the sign that the bulb is starting to grow out of the ground. This portion of the garlic plant is removed to promote larger bulbs of garlic but is delicious to add to your cooking for a strong garlic flavor. Again, you can use garlic scapes like you would green garlic or green onions.

Garlic Scapes on garlic plant

The season is short for garlic scapes because they all must be picked at once for the garlic bulb to develop, this usually happens in Iowa late spring to early summer, between May and June. It can be hard to find garlic scapes at grocery stores, but you will usually be able to find them during garlic scape harvest season at your local farmers markets. We carry them at Pleasant Grove Homestead, so be sure to stock up on your garlic scapes during this time of year from our farm store!

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Why cook with garlic scapes

Garlic scapes are similar in flavor to the garlic bulb but add a beautiful green brightness to the dish! Raw scapes have a strong garlic flavor but are less spicy than raw garlic cloves. Where cooking scapes will bring out a sweetness, similar to roasted garlic. You can incorporate garlic scapes into your cooking, or you can garnish a dish like you would scallions or chives. 

Close up on garlic scapes

Ways to cook with garlic scapes

There are so many different ways that you can cook with garlic scapes! Here are some of our favorite ways: 

Breakfast: Garlic scapes are delicious in omelets or scrambles! Chop them up and add to inside the omelet or add to the egg mixture for a garlic flavor. You can also chop them up small and sprinkle on top for a pretty garnish. Pair the garlic scapes with one of the Asparagus and Eggs recipes found here!

Garlic scapes on red and white cloth napkin

Stir-fries: Garlic scapes make a really great addition to stir fryies! Cut them into one-inch or half-inch chunks and add to stir-fries. You can add them to your favorite recipe with other veggies, or they would also go really great with the Quick Asian Sugar Snap Peas with Chicken recipe!

Garlic scape pesto with cracker on wooden board

Garlic Scape Pesto: Making pesto is the best way to use an abundance of garlic scapes! Use our Anything Goes Pesto recipe to create a delicious pesto sauce that you can use in a variety of ways. This pesto recipe can be used for any of your favorite herbs and has parmesan cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and almonds. 

ingredients for garlic scape pesto in food processor

How to store garlic scapes 

Because the garlic scape season is so short, it is a good idea to know the best ways to store them so that they do not go to waste! Here are some of the ways to store garlic scapes that yield the best results. 

Storing garlic scapes in the fridge 

You can store fresh garlic scapes for weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge or the crisper drawer. When you go to use the scapes, break off the hard woody end before using it like you would asparagus. Use the entire portion up to the tapered end where the flower would form.

Garlic scapes on blue and white table cloth

How to freeze garlic scapes

Freezing garlic scapes is a great way to enjoy them year-long with long-term storage! Keep them freezer-safe containers with one of the methods below:

1. Use our Anything Goes Pesto recipe to create a pesto and then freeze it. Add to a container to freeze it in, or add to an ice cube tray and freeze. Then pop the cubes into a freezer bag and use any time you want to add pesto flavor such as in eggs or with pasta. 

Garlic Scape Pesto with crackers

2. Cut the scapes into one-inch chunks to freeze. There is no need to blanch them! This is a great method for future use in a stir fry for garlic flavor! The best method is to flash freeze by laying on a cookie sheet in a single layer and freezing. Then once they are frozen add them in to a freezer bag. This is one of the easiest ways to prevent the scapes from sticking together in the freezer bag. 

3. Another way to freeze the scapes is to puree them and freeze them in ice cubes. Just add the scapes with a little bit of water to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. See our list of recommended kitchen tools here! Then you can use the cubes in soups or sauces or even when making salad dressings. 

Garlic scapes and ingredients for anything goes pesto

Dehydrate or freeze-dry garlic scapes

For an even longer shelf life, you can make garlic scape powder by dehydrating or freeze-drying your garlic scapes. Then you can use it similar to how you use garlic powder in your cooking!

To dehydrate, cut the garlic scapes into small pieces and then add to a cookie sheet in a thin layer. Add to your oven on the lowest setting possible and bake for 3-5 hours or until they are completely dry. Then you can leave them in chunks, or add them to a blender or food processor to get a fine powder. Then, you can store the dehydrated scapes in small jars for year-round use. 

You can also use a food dehydrator or freezer dyer if you have one! 

Garlic scapes and lemon on red and white napkin

For more ways to use farm fresh produce, check out our recipe archive! 

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