Learn how to store garlic scapes fresh, freeze them, where to source them and find lots of great recipes to use them too.
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 can they 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.
Stayed 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 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 it’s 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.
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 need to be stored in the refrigerator for at least 8 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 6 weeks before the bulb is ready to harvest.
When to harvest the scapes
This flower from the garlic is produced mid June to mid July in the northern regions. As soon as you the scapes first curl, cut or break them off.
How to store garlic scapes
Garlic scapes refrigerate well. They will last a minimum of 4 weeks refrigerated so save a bunch of them out for immediate use. If the tips of either end dries out or becomes discolored, cut it off with a sharp knife.
- Store them unwashed in a plastic bag, whole.
- Add a damp piece of paper towel to bag. Store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
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 2 weeks.
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 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 bags with 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.
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 holes.
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.
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.
Or try this relish. Yum. This is on my list of must dos.
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, stews, 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.
Sauces and Condiments
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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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today!
Enjoy. And have fun cooking!
How to Store Garlic Scapes
- 1 bunch garlic scapes
- 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
- 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.
- Pickle garlic scapes as explained in this article. Use them for charcuterie or grazing platters, Eat them as you would a regular pickle.
Originally published June 15, 2021.
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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 ,
You’re welcome Laurent. I’m glad you found the article useful!
Great post! Thanks for sharing my Garlic Scape and Chard Pesto!
I adore the color of your pesto. Plain garlic scape pesto is a funky color. Thanks for submitting the recipe Kalyn.
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!
It makes it great. You don’t have to use them all right away. Thanks for checking out the article Gina!
Thanks for including my recipe! I love all the helpful tips here too!
I love stir fried scapes look awesome. Definitely on my short list of recipes to try!
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!
Oh, how fun! I have never thought of that. Thanks for checking out the article Pam!
Such great tips for working with garlic scapes! The recipes sound amazing too! I especially love the garlic scape butter.
We adore the butter. I slather it on just about everything! Thanks Tara!
Thanks . Very informative and essential for my kitchen.
Thank you Veena. I’m glad it is useful for you.
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!
If you like garlic, you will love them. Thanks for checking out the article Anjali!