I Land Scapes!



I am frequently on the low end of the chic-food curve; it can take me a while to get out of my usual cooking ruts. So until recently I had never tried the garlic scapes that have been increasingly available in American farmers’ markets and gourmet shops.


Scapes are the stalks that come out of garlic bulbs. They are clipped off in June by farmers who want the plants to send all their nourishment to the bulbs of garlic. Since I have only seen scapes for the last few years I have a feeling many garlic farmers formerly used them for compost. They now sell them, and the curvy stalks are a boon for garlic lovers.


Visiting the Alexandria, Virginia, Farmers’ Market the other day with my mother I found scapes at the stall of Twin Springs Fruit Farm. This Pennsylvania farm travels a couple of hours from home to sell its wares to suburbanites in the D.C. area.

My mother and I were just discussing what the heck we would do if we bought the scapes when we spied a recipe leaflet from Twin Springs devoted to them. Emboldened, we picked up a half pound of scapes and went home to make the first suggested recipe, scape pesto.


Since I can never leave a recipe alone I changed the one I was given slightly: I cut down on the olive oil (Twin Springs suggests a full cup, and you may want to try that) and added a few nuts plus a little butter and salt. 

My family members found the scape pesto a little too bold when we tried it on crackers. We are nearing the end of the season for scapes, which become more garlicky as they ripen. We remembered while watching True Blood later that evening that our breath would easily protect us from vampires, but vampires are scarce in our area so we didn’t really need the extra pungency. The pesto was just right used sparingly on pasta, however.


The scapes’ flavor resembles that of garlic but is somehow greener—a little sharp but lovely blended with the cheese. My brother remarked that the pesto reminded him of a fresh Caesar salad.


Twin Springs also suggests using scapes in a stir fry or an omelet—anywhere, in fact, that you might use garlic. The farm tells shoppers to cut the scapes into 1- or 2-inch pieces and parboil them before sautéing them.


What my family liked best about the scape pesto (aside from the flavor) was its color—the true green of early summer, especially a rainy early summer like the one we’ve been enjoying on the East Coast.


Next year I’ll start buying scapes earlier and try other recipes. This year we Weisblats are enjoying our pesto. 

Scape Pesto

(Adapted from Twin Springs Fruit Farm)



1/2 pound rinsed chopped scapes (bulbs removed)—about 2 cups when chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups Parmesan cheese


In a blender or food processor combine the chopped scapes, nuts, salt, and olive oil. Process until the mixture is blended but not completely pulverized.

Pour the mixture into a bowl, and blend in the melted butter and cheese. Taste the pesto and adjust any ingredients you like.

Makes 2 cups (plus!) of pesto.


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4 Responses to “I Land Scapes!”

  1. Carri Ann says:

    We first tried scapes a few years ago when we got a huge bag of them as part of our CSA. At the time, I chopped them up and froze them – not sure how to use them. After some experimenting, we decided our favorite use for them was in rice pilaf. We love them so much now that we grow our own!

  2. tinkyweisblat says:

    I’m not much of a gardener, but you ALMOST inspire me to grow them myself!

    Maybe next year you’ll share a recipe?

    Thank you……….

  3. KMWall says:

    I went looking for garlic scapes at the Farmer’s Market. No luck in finding them, but a local place did have a batch of garlic scape pesto…It smells divine, and was just heaven sampled on a scrap of bread, I’ll let you know how it is, I was going to put some on my Fourth of July salmon.

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    Ooh–if it works, please send the whole recipe (salmon included). I’ve used up my scapes, but there’s always NEXT June!

    Happy July 4……..

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