Scapes, Scallions, and the Scarcity of Spring — 6 Comments

  1. Hi Greg – I cut mine very close to the top leaf (or I just snap it off). Hope that’s ok. So far, everyone has managed fine with that. One year, I was delivering them to a florist who wanted longer stems, and I cut them below the top leaf. That was NOT a good idea. My bulbs ended up being much smaller.

    Oh yeah – gently sauteed in EVOO sounds great. A splash of balsamic vinegar or a little lemon juice is also good. Grilled. Slow roasted. Chopped fresh like chives on baked potatoes. Thrown in with pasta.

    And yes – I have dehydrated the garlic before. The scapes dry great – as do the cloves. When you’re camping, a little package of dried scapes makes a pretty gourmet meal. During the winter, the dried scapes add a hint of garlic and a remembrance of spring that is quite uplifting, especially during those dreary February days when the rest of the garlic is gone and nice weather seems a long ways away.

    Pickling the scapes is also a good idea. They freeze well, too. And they keep a good couple of weeks under refrigeration.

    It’s also very easy to make your own dehydrated garlic from the bulbs. One year, I was frustrated with trying to sell to the fresh market and had trouble finding outlets that were equipped to carry the fresh garlic – and so I dried a lot of garlic cloves – and I do mean lots. The biggest problem was peeling the cloves. I also roasted whole elephant garlic bulbs, blended them in a food processor, and spread the garlic mush on trays to dry, and they were absolutely wonderful. I spent a lot of time fixing up my shop to meet health standards, thinking I could make a bottled product, but I have yet to completely follow through with that process – it’s a long story and best saved for a lengthy post.

    Happy eatin!

  2. Ok thanks for the info Blythe. By the way, do you cut them 2″ above the top leaf or higher? I will be cutting some of them tonight and plan on a little treat for the family. Saute in olive oil and a little kosher salt?


    Have you ever tried to take some of your garlic and dehydrate it?


  3. Hi again,

    I’ve noticed our garlic scapes are doing quite nice. A majority of them are now curled in a circle and going back upward. Blythe, when do you “pop those tops”?

    Thanks and again, great reading here.

    • NOW!!! Now is a great time to scarf the scapes! As they mature, they will start to straighten up and get tough and woody. So if you are going to eat them, when they curl is an ideal time to pick them. They are still tender and also big enough to give you more to eat. I have heard of picking them immediately when they start to show, but this might shock the plant into thinking it has to produce another one, which I would think would take a lot of energy.

      Two trains of thought on scape removal: 1) picking the scape encourages the plant to concentrate its energy on producing a bigger bulb; and 2) not picking the scape allows the plant to harden off as it would naturally, resulting in better storage capabilities. Personally, I have always picked mine (I thought it was a rule), and those I missed did appear to have smaller bulbs. Some claim that if you have really good soil, size won’t be affected either way.

      In my area, we always lose a certain number of bulbs to molds (a lot of factors can play into this, but a cool, damp climate near the saltwater is a big one) – so storage is important to me. I really hate having to throw garlic away when I’ve spent 9 months trying to grow these little babies. This year, I’m going to do a little experiment. I am going to leave a bunch of scapes on. The obvious benefit is that the little “flower top” (which isn’t really a flower, but looks like one) will produce a bunch of little bulblets, which I can later plant. These plants might take a few years to get as large as their parents, but it’s an inexpensive way to increase your seed stock.

      So if you can restrain yourself from eating them all (or sharing them with your salivating friends), you might want leave a few on, too.

      Thanks for checking back in, Greg – glad you like the site 🙂 Glad to hear your garlic is doing so well.

    • Hi Nicole! Sunny Farms is where I saw them at $4/lb – they had them there last year, too, but I can’t remember where they came from. Someone is growing a lot of garlic, tho! I also saw some yesterday at the Red Rooster Grocery in Sequim, which, if you haven’t been there yet, is such a fun little store (located across the back parking lot at Hurricane Coffee, in the old theater building). They are getting new stuff in there all the time. I took them some oregano & mint yesterday. The garlic they have is also elephant garlic (both “green scallion” and scapes) and it comes from the Lazy J and also the person who makes all the worm tea. Mine are just barely coming on – and I didn’t grow very many elephants this year – so it will be another week or so. You might also check the Sequim Locally Grown outlet – go to – a very easy place to get local produce from several growers at once. Mmmmm…..grilled with olive oil….and brushed lightly with a little balsamic vinegar….yum!

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