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“What the heck are garlic scapes?” August 4, 2022 @ 7:25pm

A scape is the stalk that grows from the center of the garlic plant. Growers generally cut off this stalk, so all the plant’s energy and nutrients go to the bulb in the ground rather than supporting the making of a flower and seeds (called bulbils in garlic lingo). But true garlic lovers wouldn’t dream of throwing away these cast-offs. The entire stalk, including the flower bud, is edible with a milder taste than garlic cloves and a bite that doesn’t linger on your tongue. When cooked, (which doesn't take long so always add at the final few minutes of cooking) they are even milder.

Scapes are very versatile part of the plant. They can be used to flavour dishes or as a vegetable and they make delicious pesto. They can be used fresh, frozen, or dried as flavouring; pickled like you would eat cucumbers, asparagus, or green beans, or made into a yummy relish. Try them in your favourite Caesar dressing recipe, chopped and added to scrambled eggs, omelettes, salads, etc. Anywhere you would use a garlic!

Our favourite way to enjoy scapes is to toss them whole in a bowl with oil and seasonings and stir fry them in our BBQ wok. Or you could simply stir fry them in a pan. It takes a bit of practice to decide just how much you like your scapes cooked, but no matter how once you try them, you will be looking for them every spring.

Making your Garlic Scape Pesto – FAQs

1. Do I include the basil stems?

You can include the small tender stems but not the woody stems. (FYI, Twilight Pesto Kits are trimmed so that you can use all the basil in the kit)

2. Can I use the entire scape?

Yes, including the flower bud, as long as those skinny tips beyond the flower bud are still green. If they have turned yellow, just cut them off and use the rest.

3. What’s the difference between making pesto with garlic scapes and garlic cloves?

There is no difference, except we like the flavour better with garlic scapes. So try them both and let us know what you think.

4. The recipe says it makes 2/3 c, but I got 1 c. Did I do something wrong?

No, our formula is wrong. My bad! The recipe and our Pesto Kit make 1 c. Bonus! I’ve edited the recipe for future kits.

5. Can I freeze pesto?

You sure can. Our recipe tells you how.

6. Can I double the recipe?

Yes. You can multiply the recipe as many times as you like. Let us know if you need a bulk amount to freeze some for the winter.

7. How much pesto should I use in a dish?

We find we use about 1/3 to ½ c of pesto. That’s why we recommend freezing it in these amounts. We use it for pasta sauce, salad dressing, burger topping, creamy mushroom sauce, creamed on top of chicken, pasta salad, and so much more.

Basic Twilight Pesto Recipe

2.5 oz (1 cup chopped, loosely packed) basil leaves

4 lg cloves garlic, or about 10 lg coarsely chopped garlic scapes (100g)

¼ c shredded parmesan cheese

2 tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp salt (or more to taste)

½ c olive oil

Combine the first five ingredients in a food processor, gradually adding oil in a steady stream while blending. Scrape sides halfway.

This recipe makes about 1 cup of pesto, and the recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.

To freeze quickly: line small containers with plastic wrap, spoon 1/3 to ½ c pesto into each container, leaving plastic wrap open. Freeze until solid. Grab the plastic wrap and lift frozen pesto from the container and wrap with that same plastic wrap. Pop all your wrapped pesto ‘pucks’ into a container or Ziploc bag, and they’re ready to thaw and use in your favourite recipe. Just toss a frozen pesto puck into the pot/pan for soups, stews, and sauces. It works like a charm!

Lorna Lumb, Owner

Twilight Herbs and Garlic

Twilight Herbs & Garlic is 20 minutes NE of Stettler and is a market garden specializing in growing and processing biotic herbs and garlic with a level of quality that is rare in Canada.

Disclaimer: This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any medical or health treatment. Consult with a qualified practitioner when using any herbal product to treat specific conditions.


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