Garlic Scapes are the flowers of the garlic plant. Farmer’s cut them off in June and early July so the garlic plant will redirect its energy into the bulb. This produces larger garlic bulbs with more cloves which are then harvested in the fall. Garlic scapes are seldom sold in supermarkets but are abundant in June and early July at farmer’s markets. The curly green stem is what you eat – simply snip off the tough green shoot above the soft “flower” which is the lighter colored bulbous piece at the top of the curly stem.
Garlic scapes are delicious thinly sliced and eaten raw in a salad. They have a stronger taste than a scallion but are much milder than a raw garlic clove. They are also delicious in an omelette, added to any dish to which you would add garlic, grilled or used to make pesto. I add about one whole garlic scape for each clove of garlic I would use in a dish. Garlic scapes are a great example of a seasonal food you can only enjoy if you visit your local farmer’s market. There are many foods like this – ground cherries, delicious varieties of peppers and different types of melons and winter squash than are available at the supermarkets – even the large natural markets. This is one of the many rewards of shopping your local farmer’s market but the biggest reward by far is the freshest, most vital produce you can get outside of your own garden!
If you’re looking for recipes using garlic scapes – the Huffington Post put together a nice collection here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/13/garlic-scape-recipes_n_1637590.html