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Scapes Aplenty

Although I’ve gardened for some years, I didn’t start planting garlic until three years ago. Living in the desert, I couldn’t grow garlic without an unseemly amount of irrigation. Living in the South, so many grand oaks grew around my home that I was restricted to shade gardening. Now that I’m in Maine and have a sunny hill, I’ve been learning through experience about growing garlic.

Two summers ago, I eagerly pulled up my first garlic crop but was terribly disappointed by the measly bulbs I found. I asked around and quickly learned my mistake: I hadn’t clipped off the flower growing at the tip of each plant, and all the plant’s vitality had gone there instead of to the bulb. Last summer, I clipped off the garlic tops and tossed them in the compost; my bulbs came out big, lovely and smelly.

It wasn’t until this year (Just today as a matter of fact) that I learned the name and use of the top part of the garlic plant. The tops are called “scapes,” and apparently you can cook with them, just as you might use green onions.


These are going into a stir fry with loads of ginger and a teriyaki sauce tonight. Yum, yum.

What do you do with your garlic scapes?

4 thoughts on “Scapes Aplenty”

  1. Bill says:

    Jim, I can’t recall the last time I learned a new word, such as ‘scapes.’ Thanks!

    Do they taste garlicky, or more like scallions? Strong or mild? Pretty tender when you fry ’em up, or stringy?

    1. J Clifford says:

      Microsoft offers e-scapes for its Surface tablet. You get to manipulate the images by touch, watch videos about scapes, find scape recipes… but still no taste.

  2. Bill Blevins says:

    Good luck Jim! I’ve tried to cook them several times but haven’t figured out how to do that so that I enjoy them when eaten! Lots of people say they are great. I’m still trying to understand that here in my garden.

  3. Jim Cook says:

    Bill One, it turns out they do taste garlicky. If you cut off the bulby tips, the remainder isn’t stringy and the flavor is yummy. But Bill Two, these scapes turn out to be much tougher than green onions; when I tried these in a stir fry the result was a bit too stiff. My next try will be to put these in a soup or stew and let them simmer for a while. Has anyone tried that?

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