Roughly Late April to Early August
Garlic scapes (aka green garlic, garlic tops, garlic spears, garlic stems) are the stems and unopened seed pods of particular varieties of “hard neck” garlic plants. The scapes are often removed to incentivize the plant to redirect its energy into producing better garlic bulbs, but they’re also quite tasty in their own right.
Garlic scapes’ texture and density is similar to asparagus, but they have a very mild garlic flavor. Though their origins are hardly exotic, they’re rare enough in supermarket produce departments that most people have never tried them (and are missing out!).
They’re an exciting addition to vegetable side dishes or simply served on their own alongside steaks and potatoes.
Both elephant garlic scapes and rocambole garlic scapes are available (when in season):
Elephant Garlic Scapes: These crisp, straight scapes have a more pronounced garlic flavor. They tend to arrive and depart early in the garlic scape season.
Rocambole Garlic Scapes: Not Currently Available
Tender Rocambole scapes are more curly than elephant garlic, less garlicky, and have a hint of pepper-like spiciness. Their texture becomes particularly tender, almost creamy, when steamed. Of the two varieties, they are the best raw.
Rocambole scapes become available later in the season than elephant scapes.
Store in your refrigerator.
Up to three weeks.
RECIPES & TIPS
Garlic scapes are delicious steamed, stir fried or sautéed as you would asparagus (usually cut into shorter lengths). Both the long stems and plump seed bulbs are edible. Try them as an exciting alternative to asparagus or green beans or add them to puree recipes (like pesto) as a milder, friendlier alternative to actual garlic cloves.
They can also be finely chopped and used as an onion substitute in some recipes, and pair well with butter and other milder garlic-friendly flavors like lemon (try mixing lemon juice into homemade mayonnaise!), cream, eggs, leeks, wild mushrooms, and tomatoes.