How to Harvest Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are a delicious byproduct produced by hard neck garlic. They are very easy to harvest and can then be used in the kitchen! The plant sends up these delicious shoots and if left to their own devices, they will flower and drop seeds. This is the plants way of trying to reproduce. If you are trying to grow a head of garlic, these scapes need to be removed. This tells the plant to focus its energy on growing the head of garlic. The good news, the scapes are edible and delicious! Today I will show you how to harvest garlic scapes.

hand holding garlic scapes with wood chips in the background

First, you need to determine which scapes are ready to be harvested. Commonly, not all the scapes will be ready to harvest at once. You are looking for the scapes to be curved into a curlicue.

mature garlic scape

You can harvest the garlic scape before it reaches this point, however, if allowed to mature the delicious garlic-oniony flavor of the scape will be the strongest.

mature garlic scape

Also, pictured below is a garlic scape that should be left to mature a bit longer. It can be harvested, but if left to fully mature, the flavor will become stronger.

a premature garlic scape

Harvesting garlic scapes is very easy. Just follow the scape down to where it meets the plant.

a mature garlic scape

Simply clip the scape off right above where it meets the plant with sharp garden shears or scissors. Take care not to clip off any of the foliage, you just want to take the garlic scape.

scissors about to harvest a mature garlic scape

That’s it folks. Take a sniff of the freshly cut end of the garlic scape. I LOVE how it smells! Such an amazing, organic garlicky scent. It makes my mouth water.

What to Do With Your Harvested Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes can be chopped up like scallions and used to depart its garlic-oniony flavor to whatever dish you’re making. Most commonly, it is used to make garlic scape pesto. Click here for that recipe. I only had four garlic scapes ready to harvest when I took the pictures in this post. So I chopped them up into 1-inch pieces, placed them in a Tupperware container, and stashed them in the freezer. This is a completely acceptable way to store garlic scapes until you have enough to use in whatever manner you’ve chosen. I’m saving mine up to make a big batch of garlic scape pesto. Which, by the way, also happens to freeze very well.

Garlic scapes are a garden freebie. Produced by the hard neck variety of garlic, they must be harvested for proper development of the garlic head in the ground. Garlic scapes are delicious and have multiple uses in the kitchen! Harvest your garlic scapes and enjoy!

Are you interested in expanding your knowledge in the kitchen? Click HERE for recipes to help you do just that!

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