If you have ever strolled through a farmer’s market during early summer and come across vibrant green garlic flowering scapes, you might have wondered whether you can eat them raw.
For years, I have been serving my family fresh farm-to-table food. I’ve learned that you can eat garlic scapes raw in different ways, such as:
- Turning the raw scapes into pickles in a brine solution.
- Blending the scapes into dressings or pesto sauces to enhance the food taste.
- Making homemade garlic scape butter to serve with different dishes.
- Adding garlic scapes to vegetable salads to make them more vibrant and tasty.
Below I’ll explain:
- Whether you can eat garlic scapes raw
- Share four tips to enjoy these flowering stems in different recipes
- I’ll also discuss the taste of these garlic scapes
- How they differ from green garlic leaves.
What Are Garlic Scapes?
What on earth are garlic scapes? (you may ask).
Well, Garlic scapes are vibrant green flowering stems or stalks that grow from the garlic bulb. They pop out about 1 month before the crop is harvested.
Here’s a fun fact: the bulge is actually a bud that grows into a beautiful flower. In turn, that later turns into garlic seeds/bulbils after leaving the scapes on the garlic bulb.
Nature’s way of showing off, right folks?
Not long ago, farmers used to toss these scapes away to let the garlic plant focus all its energy on growing the bulb for a bountiful crop. But times have changed, and these delicate scapes have gained their place in the culinary world.
Farmers now sell these greens scapes during late spring and summer when they are at their freshest and finest.
So you can buy them or grow your own. Happy times.
Can You Eat Garlic Scapes Raw
If you are like me and love the garlicky flavor in your dishes, you might be curious to know whether you can eat the garlic scapes raw.
Well, the truth is that raw garlic scapes are perfectly edible when fresh. Older scapes, on the other hand, can be quite tough to eat, making them unappealing in their raw state.
Tips For Eating Garlic Scapes Raw
Raw garlic scapes are an early summer delicacy for you to add a mild garlicky touch to your favorite dishes.
Here are some tips for savoring the goodness of these scapes in their raw form:
1. Turn into Pickle
Pickling raw garlic scapes is the perfect way to make the most of their curly appearance and unique flavor. For this, either cut them into small sticks. They should fit nicely in a jar (or use them whole).
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty details of pickling the raw garlic scapes.
Start by whipping a brine made of vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and any of your favorite spices like thyme, rosemary, etc., to enhance the overall garlicky flavor. Go for 3% brine, i.e., use 2 tablespoons of salt per 5 cups of liquid.
Once you pickle those raw scapes, add them to your salads or roasted vegetable dishes for an extra burst of flavor.
They are also a great addition to your charcuterie boards.
2. Blend into Dressing or Pesto Sauce
While scapes might seem a bit fibrous when you try to eat them raw, especially those tough ends, I have come up with a fantastic trick to turn them into a smooth and flavorful paste.
Put some garlic scapes into your food processor and blend them are much as possible to break down the fibers. Don’t stop there! Get creative; add oil and vinegar to get yourself a delicious salad dressing.
If you are into sauces and dips, add your favorite nuts and cheese to the blended garlic scape paste to make mouthwatering pesto. This sauce will jazz up your pasta, sandwiches and even work as a dip.
3. Make Homemade Butter
If you love a good flavored butter to complement your dishes and enhance their taste, raw garlic scapes butter is a mouthwatering option.
Making this mouthwatering butter is a breeze. Simply take a cup of green scapes, pulse them in your food processor, and fold them into softened butter.
Hold on; there’s more! Add some herbs and flavorings of your choice for additional flavors, such as:
- Lemon juice.
- Worcestershire sauce.
Now, take parchment paper, put the butter on it, roll it into a log, and store it in the freezer. You can use the butter for up to three months to pair it with light fish dishes or roasted vegetables and serve it on top of chopped grilled steaks.
4. Add to Salads
Raw garlic scapes can also be an excellent addition to your fresh vegetable salads, providing a unique garlicky twist to the mix.
Finely chop some scrapes and toss them into your favorite salad greens. Then add some sliced avocado, drizzle some vinaigrette on the top, mix everything, and there you have it!
What Does Garlic Scapes Taste Like?
Raw garlic scapes truly pack a punch with their in-your-face flavor, which features a hint of oniony and herbaceous notes. They have a spicy taste but are less intense than raw garlic cloves, making them more flavorful.
When cooked, the heat mellows with the intensity of the scapes, producing a similar sweeter taste like roasted garlic.
What Is The Difference Between Garlic And Scapes?
Green garlic and scapes are two different parts of the garlic plant, each with unique characteristics and culinary uses.
The flat green garlic is young plant leaves with a subtle or milder flavor. They are harvested in the early growing season before the bulb is formed. On the flip side, scapes are curly, vibrant green shoots that grow from the bulb in the later season.
That’s about it, mates! You can indeed enjoy eating raw garlic scapes and add them to your dishes for a milder, garlicky flavor and satisfying crunch.
Toss them into your salads, fold in homemade butter, or blend them into delicious pesto sauces, and the scapes will surely enhance your meal. So, the next time you come across these curly green stems at the market, don’t walk away and use them raw in different combinations.