I love growing garlic! It gets planted in the fall and is one of the first shoots to emerge in the very early spring. All the physical effort and time spent planting it, is done and forgotten in the previous year, leaving us with the anticipation of seeing it in the new year. It gives us comfort, knowing that something is growing and the season hasn’t yet begun.
If you grow garlic in your garden, you will find that it rewards you at three different stages. It may be harvested in the early spring as young garlic, when it resembles spring onion. Pull the entire plant, chop it up and sauté it with your other vegetables or eat it raw. It has a mild, sweet flavour and texture that resembles leeks.
The third stage is when we harvest the entire garlic bulb.
But for me, I always look forward to the second stage, the garlic scapes harvest!
For the experienced garlic grower, scapes are familiar and awaited. But for the first-time garlic grower, it may be a strange and unusual experience.
As a fellow new garlic grower said to me, “I thought I had done something wrong when I saw that curly stem coming from the garlic. I hadn’t seen that before and didnt’ know what to do with it!”
That curly central stem may be confusing, but I want to show you how easy it is to harvest it.
For the experienced garlic grower, you may have your own technique for harvesting scapes. My method doesn’t require any tools and takes a few seconds to harvest each scape.
Watch my garlic scape harvesting video for this easy trick. It takes very little time to get through a patch of garlic scapes and requires very little effort. If you have a large patch, it will greatly reduce the time that it takes for you to go through your crop. If you have a small crop, it will take no time at all!
One thing I want to mention, that I didn’t point out in the video: the best time to harvest your garlic scapes is after the first curl. After the second curl, the scape starts to become woody. Shortly afterwards, the scape will straighten out and become tough and inedible. In addition, your garlic plant will be spending so much time focusing its energy on producing a scape that bulb size will be compromised. It’s best to remove the scape after the first curl and use it towards something delicious.
For garlic scape recipe ideas, check out my posts Garlic Scape Pesto in 3 Easy Steps and How to Make Garlic Scape Compound Butter. Both freeze well and may be used over the winter.