Green garlic is baby garlic and is typically harvested when farms are thinning out their rows of garlic, while garlic scapes are the curling stem and flowering bud of hardneck garlic. Both green garlic and garlic scapes are high in dietary fiber and contain good amounts of vitamin C and A. Both are also good sources of dietary minerals manganese and phosphorus, and a moderate source of certain B vitamins, including thiamin and pantothenic acid, as well as the dietary minerals, calcium, iron, and zinc.
Buying and Storing
Green garlic has a long green top that looks a bit like scallions, sometimes a tiny bulb at the end, and it may be tinged with a bit of pink on the outer layers. Look for green garlic with leaves that haven’t started to shrivel, and avoid stems that have major damage and stalks that are mushy.
Storing green garlic is very similar to storing scallions. Wrap in a damp paper towel and place in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator. Green garlic typically lasts 5-7 days.
When buying garlic scapes, be sure they bend easily, and aren’t too woody. After being cut from the garlic plant, very little preparation of the scape is needed beyond rinsing. Make sure to trim off any woody sections near the base (where the scape was cut from the plant) as they can be hard to chew.
Store scapes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. Scapes can also be left out on the counter with the stems in a glass of water. They will keep well and make a beautiful “flower” arrangement until ready to use. Make sure to change the water daily.
Green garlic and garlic scape puree can be easily frozen, and the scapes and stalks of green garlic can be pickled and stored long-term.
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Garlic scapes can be used in exactly the same way as garlic in any recipe, but they are even more versatile as their garlic flavor is milder, though not as mild as green garlic.
Raw – both green garlic and garlic scapes are delicious and extremely versatile when used raw. Blend them into dressings, sauces, or dips. Use them on raw vegetable platters with dips, cut into ½ – 1 inch long sections and add to salads or pasta salads, or chop and sprinkle on pizza with asparagus, parmesan, and a drizzle of oil.
Grill/Roast – leave the scapes or green garlic stalks whole and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven at 350°F for 20 minutes or place them on a medium-hot grill, turning occasionally, until they are slightly browned in some areas. Great as a side dish with steaks or pork chops.
Blend/Puree – puree in a blender or food processor with olive oil until there are no large chunks. Add to dressings, sauces, marinades, dips, or add some parmesan, olive oil, salt and pepper to make a delicious garlic scape or green garlic pesto.
Sauté – slice or chop scapes or green garlic to the desired size and sauté. Add to omelets, stir-fry, quiche, frittata, or pasta.