Before the thought eSCAPES me.
Trimming your garlic.

If you planted your garlic when I told you to last fall, chances are it’s now growing squiggly boos from the top of it.

These … are garlic scapes.

Garlic

The scapes eventually turn into big, puffy, garlic scented flowers, which may seem like a fun thing, but if you let your scapes go to flower then it’ll drain the plant’s energy from forming proper sized heads of garlic. So, you need to trim your scapes.

In terms of when the right time to cut them off is … it’s pretty much whenever you notice them. But the absolute perfect time to cut off the scapes is once they’ve curled into one complete circle. They grow fast those scapes. One morning you have a regular stalk of garlic and the next you’ll have a patch of squiggly boos. Just use a pair of regular scissors to cut the scape off where it meets the first leaf it comes to.

You can throw the scapes into the compost pile, make a necklace out of them, braid them into a dog leash, attach them to a headband for a truly fashionable look good for driver’s license photos, school pictures or scape porn …

or … if you want to be a little more pedestrian you can cook with them.  If you’re boring and have no intention of making it big in Scape porn.

Garlic Scape Pesto is the way you want to go for cooking.  I make a batch every summer with my garlic scapes and freeze it to use throughout the winter.  Plus I eat some immediately of course.  It’s a light, bright, tasting pesto with a mild garlic taste.

So if you grow it, go outside and check for scapes  now.  Before the thought eSCAPES you.

66 Comments

  1. Even though it’s midnight, I got excited by the thought of scape porn so I took my flashlight out to check my garlic. There are not any scapes yet but I did get hit on by an amorous firefly. Who’s the lucky girl? Me!

    • Karen says:

      I *love* getting so excited about something I run outside with a flashlight until I get hit with a bug. I do it all the time! Honestly. ~ karen

  2. Sk Farm Girl says:

    I have to say I quite like the “scape” fascinator hat. You could sell those and make a million. Just remember who suggested they become fascintor hats!! Damn, wish I would have gotten my garlic in last fall! Oh well, there is always this fall!

    • Karen says:

      O.k. I’m kind of freak out excited everyone went out and put their pictures up today. Oh. Right. Garlic. Yeah … garlic’s good. 🙂 ~ karen/laura

      • Jen H. says:

        Don’t get too freaked out- not everyone had a chance yesterday…..I was curious as to how many responders would have avatars today. Proves that it was truly that easy

  3. Amanda says:

    I am cracking up at your scape hat!!! I think that last “looking over your shoulder” pic should be your new avatar LOL

    Also makes me wish that I had found your blog last fall… I could be using garlic as a SCAPEgoat to investigate my garden tonight!!!

  4. nancy says:

    you’re scaring me

  5. nancyeileen says:

    Now I know where they got the idea for the alien creature in Prometheus.

  6. nancyeileen says:

    From the scaaaapes.
    I was horrified you might think I was suggesting your adorable ‘Cindy Who’ photo’s

    • Sherri says:

      nancyeileen—Cindy Lou Who from Whoville was my first thought when I saw the photo of Karen with her “scapeband”, too! GMTA! She’s a nut job, isn’t she? (Karen, not Cindy Lou Who. Cindy Lou appears to be a perfectly normal and very sweet little girl. Karen has never been normal.)

  7. Gayla T says:

    You are a nut case! A good nut case but pretty nutty. As a retired floral designer I have to tell you that garlic arrangements may not ever make it big but the hat???? If you attached them to aluminum foil hats I know you could sell them to people on YouTube. They would protect from harmful rays emitted from a UFO and werewolves on the ground. I just heard a few day ago that the US govt. is putting together a new defense system called ScapeWars so you are ready. Go for it! No home safe room should be w/o them.

  8. Krikit says:

    Luv the pics! “…..scape porn….” LOL! ~;D

  9. marion says:

    Great pictures – you are hilarious!

  10. Heather says:

    HaHa! As always–useful and entertaining. A scape hat will be on the to do list for this weekend. Very Eco-chic. Possibly a bit Eco-geek too, but both are in fashion. Thank you for the reminder!

  11. Mary says:

    Let’s cut to the scape – I planted the garlic as you instructed last fall and I will now snip off the squiggly boos. Still waiting, however, to hear how your squash in a cage worked out – mine is starting to head in the direction of my neighbours side door and must be restrained.

    • Karen says:

      Mary – Just as my squash started to get huge last year it got powdery mildew and croaked. The cage seemed to be working out though. This year I plan to vertiacalize the squash. ~ k!

  12. Dava says:

    Love the hat look. However, I usually made scape pesto with mine. Put some scape pesto under the skin of your chicken before baking…yummo!

  13. eSCAPES…..brilliant! I love your sense of humour.

  14. I do not have my scopes yet…

  15. I ment to say escape yet should I worry…

  16. IrishJenn says:

    I got garlic scapes in my CSA last summer and had no idea what they were. I had to post a picture on facebook to see if any of my friends could help. Whatever did we do before the interwebs?

    BTW, when I have my first, full-on belly laugh at 6:30 am, I feel it sets the tone for the rest of my day. So, thanks for that.

  17. marilyn says:

    im excited too…i have to learn how to send u some pics. i do lots of stuff y never know about because i am a luddite..

  18. Holly says:

    Scapes and boos? You made that up, right?

  19. Adele says:

    I feel sorry that I “wasted” some scapes that my daughter gave me from her farmer’s box by putting them in my pasta sauce, her suggestion (she’s a fabulous cook, I’m not). Coulda put them in a vase, they are much too beautiful to eat. I need to get more…

    Love your blog, and congrats on the Spec article today. I love your house!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Adele – I haven’t seen the article yet but my mother called me screaming and whooping this morning. I didn’t tell her so it would be a surprise. 🙂 ~ karen

  20. Karen says:

    Thanks for the heads-up! Mine have been doing that for a couple of days and I didn’t know you should cut them off. I just love the way they look in the garden. So I’ll put them in a vase…

  21. Barbie says:

    I did plant my garlic last fall as always….however I forgot to look for scapes…don’t think I’ve seen any though….perhaps my scapes are behind like the rest of things in my life. I have never cut my scapes before and my garlic is usually always nice a big…so I am looking forward to seeing how much better and bigger my garlic will be this year when I do that. 🙂

  22. White says:

    Just a reminder that only hard-neck garlic varieties develop scapes, soft-neck varieties do not. Typically, garlic “braids” are fashioned from soft-neck garlic.

    This is all too obvious for long-time garlic growers, but bears noting for novice growers.

  23. Karen, eat them. No word of a lie, they are amazing. I do them up in a whiz of eevo and sea salt. That’s it….in the cast iron pan even better. Let them get golden and oh. my. name. Yum.
    I like them crispy but not burnt, or they are bitter. You can use them in mashed potatoes, hello! Or instead of beans. Yep, they have a garlic taste and are strong. But, sister in gardening and all things antique….try them. And maybe the girls might like them too…who knows. But eat them. Go to that compost pile, ok, maybe not, but go to that lovely arrangement and steal one out and try it. If you don’t like them, I’ll eat my scape. 🙂

  24. Pats says:

    Ok, that headband is not only adorable, it will repel vampires! Double good!

  25. Susan says:

    I didn’t plant garlic, run outSide cause I would get eaten by bugs or make my picture appear! Wow! What a loser!

  26. CBuffy says:

    At first glance, I LOVED the flower arrangement. But then, was it just me or did those look a little like alien arms reaching out of an alien egg thing? A little creepy! But still fun! (And I love the hat!)

  27. I love sautéing these little scapes in butter with carrots or collard greens. I also can’t wait until the real garlic is ready. Everything is better with garlic 🙂

  28. Kristen S says:

    Now I want mashed potatoes with garlic scapes, and my garlic hasn’t grown any yet…jealous

    • susan says:

      Salads… sorry for the typo.

      also, the end that gets dry and papery – I make a garlic/onion broth with those….

  29. susan says:

    I even pickled a jar of scapes last year. I use them in chopped salds, pesto, sauces…… now my mouth is watering! BTW: Great hat!

  30. Krista says:

    So jealous, scapes sell for 4.99 a pound here in Seattle because they are delicious! sauteed in a little olive oil, taste somewhat like garlic scented asparagus.

  31. CC says:

    I did not plant any this year I am new to your blog, but hopefully I will next. All I can say is you are hysterical and the LOL just makes my day Karen, thank you

  32. Angie S says:

    A Garden for the House just had this recipe for scapes pesto – sounds great!!! http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/06/garlic-scape-pesto/

  33. Spokangela says:

    The hubs and I just noticed our scapes the other day. Fine Cooking had some great recipes for them. I am looking forward to trying them. After I make a headband out of them…

  34. Rita says:

    Hi Karen,
    I DID plant garlic last fall but it hasn’t appeared yet 🙁
    Don’t know why. Maybe it was the -40C overnight low we got in January. I thought I should be seeing little shoots by now. I didn’t think to water it after the snow left so it sat dry for about a month. Maybe that was it. Oh well. Better luck next Spring. I’m already planning to plant tons of the stuff this Fall. Thx for the design tips with the Scapes – they look great as an arrangement and hilarious on your head 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Rita – If the garlic hasn’t come up by now it isn’t going to. Did you get your garlic at the grocery store? If you did, it was probably treated with a sprout inhibitor. In the fall buy organic garlic to plant, or go to a local nursery or seed store to buy garlic specifically for planting. ~ karen!

  35. Karen you are definitely Porn Star worthy!
    PS show em your grASS crack!
    Dawnajonesdesign.com

  36. Ruth says:

    My garlic recently kicked the bucket due to drought and water shortage, so I guess I’ll just live vicariously through all your scape experiences. :-/

  37. Carole McGinnis says:

    Karen, I just love you – you make me laugh so hard. I love your crazy mind.

  38. Shauna says:

    We never got scapes on our garlic??? What’s that all about. They were totally ready to picked too – they were the most fragrant, strong garlic EVER! YUM. But, alas, no scapes for me to make headbands with.

    • Karen says:

      Shauna – You had a different type of garlic. Hardneck varieties grow scapes, softneck do not. ~ k!

      • Shauna says:

        OOOHHHHH, you really do know everything! We just took a couple of cloves we bought from the farmers market and planted it and were so excited when we were rewarded with more garlic.

  39. Laura Bee says:

    After I wiped the tears from my eyes…I checked my garlic. I think I have the softneck variety. No scapes. Thanks for holding my hand through this adventure. (Those pics are better than any others I have ever seen from a photo booth!)

  40. peggy says:

    Thank you SO much. No wonder I always had these puny little garlic buds. You are wise as well as extremely witty!!!

  41. mickey says:

    My vegetable gardening days are long gone. The only edible things I have are chives. Oh,and I planted one pea and it’s coming along quite nicely.
    But I would like to comment on the photos and article about you in today’s newspaper. Totally awesome!!!!
    Where did you hide the girls?
    mickey

  42. Debbie B says:

    I officially passed coffee through my nose, scared the crap out of the dogs and might have even peed a little bit in all the confusion, but I just loved the squiggly boo head band and the porn shots!!

  43. Diane Stairs says:

    I live near the Red Hill Valley (King’s Forest golf course) and walk my dog through there. I find wild garlic, pick the scapes and use them in stir fries and for salads….lovely subtle garlic taste…they should never go to waste….but I do love the art you have made with them….so inventive. I would love to plant my own garlic but have yet to do so….suggestions on timing and what kind and how much space etc??? thanks

    • Karen says:

      Diane – Plant in late, late fall. Search “planting garlic” in my search bar to learn all about it. ~ karen!

  44. Lucinda says:

    Love the head-gear. I agree, flower arranging with scapes is the best. But I am also partial to scape pesto……yummmmmmmmy!

  45. Diane Stairs says:

    just read your “How to Plant garlic now’s the time” blog….excellent…should have looked before I wrote. so helpful.
    di

  46. Mindy says:

    I bought them for the first time at our farmer’s market this weekend. I just tossed them in some olive oil, seasoned them up with salt and pepper, and grilled them with our steaks. Really, really good. I’m anxious to try them different ways.
    Here’s a shot of them on the grill aka fire pit:
    http://rindymae.blogspot.com/2012/06/sunny-sunday-supper-with-scapes.html#

  47. Lynn says:

    I am now suffering from ‘scape’ envy – boo. 😉
    once again you made my day!

  48. You are just SO avant-garde…

  49. Rita says:

    Thanks Karen, I did buy the garlic at the grocery store. I’ll get Organic or garlic from seed store from now on.

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