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How to Store Garlic Scapes (Plus 16 Free Recipes)

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Learn how to store fresh garlic scapes, freeze them, where to source them, and find lots of great recipes to use them too.

Sliced log of garlic scape butter on a laminate cutting board.Pin
Garlic Scape Butter

Garlic scapes have such a short season that it is nice to be able to preserve them when they emerge to be able to use them throughout the year.

We love garlic scapes around here, but their season is incredibly short. Just a few weeks in the summer, it can be found in your garden or at the farmers market.

Why not preserve them so that they can be enjoyed all year long until that two-week period they are available next year? They are incredibly easy to preserve by a number of different techniques.

Stay tuned at the end of the article for lots of recipes that you can use these garlic scapes in.

What the heck are garlic scapes?

Garlic scapes are the flower bud and the stalk or stem of the bud (botanically known as the peduncle) of hardneck garlic plants. 

Since the portion of the garlic that we are seeking when we grow them is the garlic bulb, the flowers are removed. This way, the plant doesn’t put its energy into seed production (from the flower) but instead concentrates energy on the bulb itself.

The mild garlic flavor that scapes have is perfect for adding to so many dishes.

Bamboo tray with garlic scapes.Pin

When to plant garlic

Garlic is generally planted in the fall when temperatures begin to cool. September or October (zones 5-7) is perfect.

In zones 1-4, plant bulbs in late October or November.

To grow garlic in zones 8-9, the bulbs must be stored in the refrigerator for at least eight weeks (a process called vernalization). Then, the bulbs can be planted in November or December.

The bulb will grow throughout the winter and spring. The scapes usually appear about six weeks before the bulb is ready to harvest.

Planting garlic bulbs in garden.Pin

When to harvest the scapes

This flower from the garlic is produced from mid-June to mid-July in the northern regions. As soon as you see the garlic scapes first curl, cut, or break them off.

How to store garlic scapes

Refrigeration

Garlic scapes refrigerate well. They will last a minimum of 4 weeks refrigerated, so save a bunch of them for immediate use. If the tips of either end dries out or become discolored, cut it off with a sharp knife.

  • Store them unwashed in a plastic bag, whole.
  • Add a damp piece of paper towel to the bag. Store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Garlic scapes in plastic storage bag. A damp piece of paper towel to help retain moisture.Pin

An alternative would be to make a fresh cut on the cut end of the scape. Place the scapes in a jar of water and then place the jar in the refrigerator. Change the water daily. I find that the tips of the buds dry out with this method, though. This method will only preserve them for about two weeks.

Freezing

The best way to preserve them for long-term storage is to freeze them. They freeze well in many forms. Make sure that the garlic scapes are clean and that any debris and dirt is removed.

Freeze them raw. Wash and dry the scapes. Process them in the food processor (or chop by hand) until they are fine chunks. Add to freezer bags. Flatten the bags with your hands or a rolling pin. Store flat in the freezer for about one year. Remove a chunk of frozen garlic any time you want to use them in a recipe.

Raw garlic in freezer bag ready for freezing.Pin

Freeze them in the form of pesto. Just make the garlic scape pesto. Place in bags and flatten and freeze as the raw scapes above. You can also freeze them in cupcake tins. Spray tin first with no-stick spray to make them easier to remove, then push pesto in the cups to fill the holes.

Pesto in plastic bag and in cupcake tin ready for freezing.Pin

Freeze them into compound butter. Make garlic scape butter and freeze as described in the raw and pesto above. Use this to flavor grilled meats or on biscuits or rolls.

Bag of garlic scape butter with rolling pin.Pin

Preserving

Make pickled garlic scapes with vinegar, salt, and spices, which will last at least a year. Great on charcuterie boards or grazing platters. Top a burger. Just eat them as you would a pickle. They are garlicky perfection.

Pickled Garlic Scapes
Pickled Garlic Scapes are so easy! They can be canned in waterbath or just cold pack can them! So no messing with the canning pot and the heat in the kitchen! They are great on sandwiches, burgers and salads or use them on your next charcuterie board!

Make This
Pickled garlic scapes in a canning jar.Pin
Fermented Garlic Scapes
Fermented garlic scapes are a quick, healthy, and easy way to preserve this fleeting, delicious crop.
Make This
Fermented scapes in canning jar.Pin
Dill-icious Garlic Scape Relish
Garlic Scape Relish is made with fresh early summer garden grown garlic scapes. With just the right amount of vinegar and a touch of dill, it’s perfect on hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, and mixed into macaroni salad.
Make This
garlic scape relish in jar with spoon scooping some out.Pin
Dehydrating Garlic Scapes | Garlic Scape Powder
Dehydrating garlic scapes is an easy way to preserve this delicious, early summer vegetable. Make garlic scape powder too. Great to add to so many dishes.
Make This
Dehydrated garlic scape powder in round mason jar.Pin

Where to find them

If you aren’t growing garlic in your garden, then you can occasionally find them at farmer’s markets, farm stands, and at your local Asian food suppliers. Look for them from March to the beginning of July, depending on where you live.

Recipes for fresh garlic scapes

There are lots of delicious ways to enjoy fresh scapes, too. Here is a great list of original recipes for your enjoyment.

Use them in a stir fry, fried rice, or stews, or to compliment pasta or add to homemade hummus.

Grilling and frying

Grilling them yields a texture similar to grilled asparagus. They get crispy on the outside and are soft and tender on the inside. Serve as a side with your main dish.

Stir Fried Garlic Scapes
Try this simple recipe for stir fried garlic scapes! These are thin, curly, green stems that grow from garlic bulbs and taste delicious sauteed with a sweet & savory Asian sauce!
Make This
Stir fried garlic scapes in white bowl.Pin
Grilled Garlic Steaks
Curly garlic scapes are a staple of summer farmer’s markets. This simple recipe for grilled garlic scapes is a quick way to enjoy this unusual vegetable. You can throw these on the grill and have mildly garlic spears to serve with your grilled dinner in just 10 minutes.
Make This
Pin
Garlic Scapes – Air fried, Grilled and Roasted
It’s Garlic Scapes Season (also called Garlic Spears) here in the Northwest! My favorite time of year! Even my youngest son gets excited. I brought home 3 bunches today! They are available only a few weeks out of the year.
Make This
Pin
Charred Garlic Scapes with Parsley Butter
Perfectly charred garlic scapes smothered in homemade parsley butter make a delicious summer side dish! If you’re new to cooking with scapes, this simple recipe makes it easy to experiment with them.
Make This
Charred garlic scapes on white plate.Pin

Sauces and Condiments

Garlic Scape Herb Compound Butter
This Garlic Scape Herb Compound Butter is easy with a beautifully mild garlic flavor!
Make This
Slices of garlic scape butter with curly garlic scapes.Pin
Garlic Scape Pesto
Easy, healthy topping for pastas, veges and bruschetta. Made fresh at home!
Make This
Overhead photo of pesto with almonds and scapes.Pin
Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard
Garlic Scape Pesto with Chard is a delicious combination of ingredients, without the too-garlicky flavor that garlic scape pesto can sometimes have!
Make This
Pin

Breakfast/ Brunch

Summer Quiche with Garlic Scapes and Ham
This summer quiche recipe is perfect for the lazy days of summer. If you’re looking for a clean quiche recipe, try this one today.
Make This
Whole quiche with garlic scapes on the side.Pin
Spinach Frittata with Garlic Scapes
This Spinach Frittata with garlic scapes is a tasty vegetable frittata that works well for breakfast, brunch or dinner. The addition of garlic scapes adds a subtle garlic flavor to the recipe.
Make This
Close up of garlic scape frittata.Pin

Main Dishes

Garlic Scape, Lemon Grilled Chicken Tenders
This Garlic Scape, Lemon Grilled Chicken Tenders can be on the table in 15 minutes!! 
Make This
Grilled chicken tenders piled on plate with grilled garlic scapes.Pin
Pork Chops with Garlic Scapes and Peaches
This recipe for marinated Grilled Pork Chops with Garlic Scapes and Brown Butter & Rosemary Peaches is amazing! It tastes like springtime on a plate, with so many bold and bright flavors. As a bonus, this dish is Whole30, Paleo, and Gluten Free!
Make This
Plate of pork chops with garlic scapes and peaches.Pin
Beer Steamed Mussels with Garlic Scapes
These beer steamed mussels tossed with garlic scapes and lemon make a great appetizer or light meal, and are a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Enjoy them at home on the deck, gathered around a campfire, or cooked up right at the beach!
Make This
Steamed mussels in a white bowl.Pin

Soups

Potato Garlic Scape Soup
This is the BEST ever garlic scape soup! It’s incredibly fresh and loaded with flavor, but only has a handful of simple ingredients. If you’re not cooking with garlic scapes yet, it’s time to give them a try in this vegetarian soup!
Make This
Pin
Potato Garlic Scape Soup
This Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup is so delicious. With only a few ingredients, it can easily made vegan because it has no cream.
Make This
Garlic scape soup in cast iron bowls.Pin

Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas on how to store garlic scapes. Get some today and use this short-lived addition to your summer recipes. If you are a garlic fan, you’ll love them.

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If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

Binky's signature
Fresh garlic scapes in bamboo basket.Pin

How to Store Garlic Scapes

Bag of garlic scape butter with rolling pin.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $3

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch garlic scapes

Instructions

Refrigeration

  • Store fresh, unwashed garlic scapes in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for 2-4 weeks.
    1 bunch garlic scapes

Freezing

  • Process the scapes in the food processor until fine. Place in plastic freezer bags. Flatten bag out with your hand or with a rolling pin. Freeze flat.
  • Scapes can also sliced the by hand and frozen.
  • Break of a chunk any time you need some to add to your favorite recipes.

Canning

  • Pickle garlic scapes as explained in this article. Use them for charcuterie or grazing platters, Eat them as you would a regular pickle.
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Notes

There are many ways to use garlic scapes fresh, as well. See article for recipes.
Use fresh scapes for best flavor. 
Freezing whole garlic scapes produces a mushy texture. If you choose to freeze them whole, use them in a recipe that the texture is not an issue.
Frozen garlic scapes in any form are best within 6 months but will last a year in the form of pesto and butter, if they are packed with all of the air removed from the bag.
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Originally published June 15, 2021.

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16 Comments

  1. a big thanks, we have lots of them, and now we can store them in the freezer, a good comment on how to store them ,, thanks ,

    1. I adore the color of your pesto. Plain garlic scape pesto is a funky color. Thanks for submitting the recipe Kalyn.

  2. 5 stars
    Love the tip to freeze them, such a great idea. They’re everywhere at the farmer’s market right now and now I can buy a bunch!

    1. It makes it great. You don’t have to use them all right away. Thanks for checking out the article Gina!

  3. 5 stars
    What a great idea! I would have never thought of this. Guess what? I’ve actually used garlic scapes in floral arrangements too. They are so graceful looking!

  4. 5 stars
    Such great tips for working with garlic scapes! The recipes sound amazing too! I especially love the garlic scape butter.

  5. 5 stars
    I didn’t even know that garlic scrapes were a thing!! Can’t wait to pick them up and try your tips for storing and using them!

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