Garlic scapes from the garden

The Downtown Windsor Farmers Market is in full swing and I’ve been making good use of it.  I’ve been on a bit of canning and preserving kick and living in Essex County offers great opportunities to feed my obsession.

Last year, I was introduced to something new.  Garlic scapes.  I had no idea what they were, but let me tell you, I’ll never forget about them and I now wait impatiently for their return in June.  Garlic scapes are the long, curly flower stalk that shoots out of the middle of the garlic plant.  It’s a beautiful site to behold, come mid June when those wonderfully, long, green stalks make their appearance.

If you have garlic growing in the garden, cutting the scapes is necessary to help the bulbs grow.  So instead of just tossing them into the compost, eat them!

So what do you do with garlic scapes?  Add them to pastas, stir fry, throw them on the BBQ, pickle them. The possibilities are endless.  They have a mild garlic flavour and add freshness to any dish.  Sean and I love to make pesto with it.

This isn’t really a recipe as a “add a handful of this and a handful of that” kind of cooking.

Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto

  • Garlic scapes
  • Fresh basil
  • Parmeggiano Reggiano
  • Almonds
  • Olive oil

Chop up the garlic scapes.

Add the scapes, basil, parmeggiano and almonds to a food processor.

You can lightly toast the almonds before adding them to the processor.  It will add a bit more depth to the flavour of the pesto.  Pulse the processor a few times to mix everything together.  Then while the processor is on, slowly begin to add olive oil.  When the pesto has reached the consistency you like, then just stop.

I make enough to store in small containers and keep in my freezer for when we’re in a garlic scape pesto kind of mood.  Before putting the lid on and popping them into the freezer, I add a layer of olive oil to just cover the pesto.

Cook up fresh, home made pasta and add the pesto just before serving.

While garlic scape season is over, you should definitely make a mental note to keep an eye out for these seasonal treats next June!