The Great Scape

No that's not a typo for the Steve McQueen film, the scape I refer to is the great garlic scape, which looks like a kind of curly spring onion

I posted about this last year, but make no apologies for repeating myself, as it seems garlic scapes are still much undervalued, and not appreciated for the delicious treat that they are. Some people have been known to cut them off and throw them away! (Throw up hands in horror)
If you grow hardneck garlic, variously known as porcelain, or rocambole garlic, it will produce, around this time of year, a curious curly central shoot, which is in fact the flowering stem of the plant. I know of no other allium either edible or ornamental that does this curly wurly thing, it seems to be only porcelain garlic. My variety is "Music" and I have grown it for several years, saving a few heads each year for replanting. We eat a lot of garlic, I believe the allium veggies are very beneficial for health if not social life, and this year I've bought hardly any garlic at all, using our own supplies until well into the spring, with a bit of a gap until the scapes come into season, and tide us over until garlic harvest proper in August.
You need to cut off the scape for the benefit of the plant, so that it can direct its energies into plumping up the bulbs rather than producing flowers and seed. So cut your scapes, take them into the kitchen and chop off the flower buds at the end, and make yourself some Garlic Scape Pesto. This is a loose recipe, and endlessly variable, but here's the general idea.

Garlic Scape Pesto
6-8 garlic scapes
two handfuls of walnuts
2-4oz/50-100gr parmesan or similar hard cheese
handful of flatleaf parsley or basil if you prefer
Salt and black pepper
a good half pint of extra virgin olive oil

Cut the end off the scapes and chop into 1inch pieces.
Chop the cheese into manageable (for the blender) cubes.
Put everything except the oil into the blender and blend until finely chopped, at which point add as much oil as you fancy, to make a thick paste. Keep it in the fridge in a jar, floating a little oil over the top to keep the air out. Use it for:

Spreading on toasted sourdough and topping with sliced tomato for bruschetta style nibbles.

Stir into cooked pasta for a quick tasty supper when you've had a long day in the garden and don't want to cook much.

Spread on chops, chicken thighs, and/or chunky veggies, and slam in the aga to be cooking whilst you shower away the vestiges of the day's gardening, emerging Stepford fragrant, twenty minutes later to serve dinner.
I can hear someone laughing...


  1. I'm not laughing, I am just thinking, yummy, yummy, yummy. I love garlic anyway. Diane

  2. I have never grown garlic, not real good at growing anything. An interesting idea, I don't think it's funny at all, why waste something if you have it?

  3. Dear Kathy, I have not seen or heard of this form of Allium until now and am most intrigued, not least for its decorative appearance. Such fun. Garlic, I agree, is a welcome addition to so many dishes and is used, I am happy to say, here in Hungary extensively. An interesting and informative posting!

  4. I am going to find some Music garlic to grow, I have seen this variety twice now on blogs, each giving it a good review. I love the idea that you can get a second crop so to speak, the scapes.

    My garlic this last year (first year to grow) did not make these curly scapes...I have no idea what variety it was.

    How long will the pesto keep in the fridge?

  5. sounds just DELISH to me!!
    Off to try it

  6. Oh no. I'm one who threw mine away! I just learned about cutting them off for the bulb after last year's crop. I didn't know about making garlic scape pesto until just a few days ago. Next year....

  7. I just love garlic and your recipe is making me sooo hungry! It's amazing how many new things one can learn about in the blogging world. I just read about fried dill pickles on a blog from a southern US state. Never heard of that either.

  8. Thanks Diane, hope you enjoy it

    Hi Sharon garlic is one of the easist veggies to grow would be a good one to start with

    Hello Edith, I see you've transferred from Maida Vale to Hungary, you certainly do get around. Hope you have a good time there.

    Hi Texan, I keep the pesto for about a week or so in the fridge. Music is available from specialist garlic suppliers see

    Hi Ted and Bunny, hope you enjoy

    well, GSS at least you will know for next year, never mind hope the crop is good

    Hi Canyon Girl, I learn new stuff every day from people's blogs. never heard of fried dill pickles though..

  9. I will have to remember next season.....tossed them into the chicken yard...oops!

  10. Oh Doc what a treat you missed, never mind, always next year.

    1. just looked up why my garlic was growing curly pointed heads so glad I did of to buy some walnuts thank you sooooooo much sounds good to me


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