Garlic scapes are one of the best kept secrets in the food industry. The garlic plant produces its scape in June and early July when the almost mature garlic plant produces a long curly shoot ranging in size from 16-24 inches. It begins its growth as a straight shoot, but most varieties produce a distinctive curl as it grows.
As the scape grows it forms a bulge that is sometimes referred to as the garlic flower, which contains small seed-like bulbils. The bulbils are not true seeds, but if planted will produce a small garlic plant and bulb. It typically will take 2-3 years of successive planting of the cloves from the bulbs of the planted bulbils to reach full mature size.
Garlic scapes are considered a gourmet delicacy and can be prepared in a number of ways. As they are only available in a 2-3 week window in June/July, they are not normally found in supermarkets and you will likely onley find them at farmers markets.
Scapes can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. Our favorite is Scape Pesto but the scapes can be cooked like asparagus as a side dish, are a tasty accent to omelets or a garnish to salads.