Eating for Healing: Garlic Scapes

Food is medicine, and these flavorful shoots are no exception. Harvested in spring and early summer, garlic scapes are long, slender stalks that emerge from the center of the garlic plant and curl outward. These stems can be removed about three weeks before the garlic bulb is ready to be harvested. In that three-week timeframe, the plant sends its energy to the garlic bulb to continue its growth. Removing the garlic scape can increase the bulb size by about 25%.

Garlic scapes can be used in place of garlic, similar to the way scallions are used. Chop and saute in olive oil with mixed vegetables or scrambled eggs; blend with pine nuts, olive oil, and a squirt of lemon juice to make a delicious pesto; or chop and saute, then mix with sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey to dress noodles.

Garlic scapes are not only delicious, adding a fresh, garlicky flavor to your dishes, they have incredible healing benefits. From a TCM perspective, garlic scapes have a warming energy and the ability to push cold and dampness out of the body. Used to support the Liver, garlic scapes stimulate circulation, improve digestion, alleviate bloating, and treat symptoms of colds and coughs.

Cooking With Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes will soon be appearing in your nearest farmer’s market. Experiment with these delicious and versatile stalks by adding them to many different recipes. If you’re looking for something a bit different, cook up the two recipes posted below. Let us know what other creative dishes you come up with!