- Garlic Scapes
- What are Garlic Scapes?
- What The Heck Are Garlic Scapes?
- What Are Scapes and How Do I Cook Them?
- Everything You Need to Know About Garlic Scapes
- Growing Conditions
- Pests & Diseases
- Companion Planting
- Clove of Garlic vs. Head of Garlic
- Garlic Shoots
- Don’t throw out old, sprouting garlic — it has heart-healthy antioxidants
Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant. The bud is removed in late June to encourage the bulbs to thicken up. Scapes make a fabulous addition to a flower bouquet, and they are delicious to eat! Scapes taste just like garlic. They can be used in exactly the same way as garlic in any recipe.
Garlic scapes can be used just like garlic in recipes. They are very versatile. Try them in a sauté, roasted, pickled, added to soups, and more. The most tender tops of the stem and the buds are delicious chopped up raw.
Garlic lovers can roast or grill entire scapes to serve as a side dish. To do so, lay the scapes (you may have to cut them up just to get them to lay flat on the cookie sheet) on an oiled cookie sheet and roast at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes, or toss the scapes in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on a med-hot grill, turn occasionally until they are slightly browned in areas. Enjoy!
Try these recipes: Green Goddess Soup, White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip, Garlic Scape and New Potato Dip, and Garlic Scape Butter.
Storing Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes keep well in a plastic bag in the fridge for two to three weeks. They will keep for a few days (and will look beautiful) in a glass with a little cool water in it, on the counter in a cool room. Change water daily.
Growing your own garlic? Read our tip on How and When to Cut Your Garlic Scapes.
Cooking Tips Meet the Veggies cooking flowers garlic refrigerator storage
A Killarney Red garlic scape starting its double curl!
Garlic scapes are the curly tipped, garlickly tasting green “stem or flower-stalk” that grow from the hardneck garlic varieties. Although the scapes have often been discarded in the US, they are
considered a culinary delicacy in many Asian countries and are increasingly available in the US.
Some Asian markets with well-stocked produce sections will carry fresh garlic scapes in season (June in the Upper Midwest), but increasingly you may also find them at farmers’ markets and
gourmet grocery stores or natural food stores. Frozen garlic scapes (called garlic shoots) are readily available year-round in the freezer section of most well-stocked Asian supermarkets.
- Taste-wise, garlic scapes are garlicky but with a fresh “green” taste. They can be used in any dish where one usually uses garlic but would like a garlic flavor with less bite than garlic cloves.
- Garlic scapes work well chopped and added raw to salads, salsas, dips, guacamole, marinades, pesto, bean dip, salad dressings, mashed potatoes, and a topping for pizza or baked potatoes.
- Scapes are also delightful when cooked into sauces, added to soups, stews, omelettes, frittatas, souffles, a stir fry, or mixed into softened butter and used to make toasted garlic bread.
- Cut into 1-inch sections, lightly steam, and you will think you are eating mild garlickly-flavored green beans.
- Garlic scapes can also be pickled or added to homemade flavored vinegars.
- Toss or brush with olive oil and grill along with some fresh Michigan asparagus (they are in season together).
- A simple, beautiful, and delicious garlic scape spread or dip can be made by chopping some scapes and mixing them with butter, mayonaise, aioli, any white bean dip, cream cheese, or yogurt cheese.
- Use several scapes under a whole chicken, on top of a large piece of fish, or even a large baking dish of lasagna when in the oven.
- Add to flower bouquets, as decoration on plates or buffet tables, or even as a fun bracelet!
- Finally, you can also chop up garlic scapes and store them in the freezer, no blanching required if they have been harvested when young and tender, ready to use all winter long.
Garlic scapes will keep ~3 weeks (at least) when refrigerated loosely in
plastic. However, the season is very short, indeed fleeting. Just like with asparagus, make sure the bottom ends of the scapes you purchase are not “woody”, i.e., check that they are tender enough to be edible and/or to put into a blender or food processor without burning out the motor. So purchase enough of this delicacy now to grill up a large batch of scapes for a special meal, freeze, make pesto, or pickles for a reminder of early summer all year long. Many of our long-time customers purchase 1-5 pounds of scapes during the short time they are available.
All About Garlic Scapes – Garlic isn’t JUST about the bulb anymore! This useful guide contains all you need to know about selecting, preparing, and storing this tender and fragrant delicacy.
Here on Simple Seasonal I’m all about incorporating a wide variety of seasonal vegetables (especially the strange ones) into my cooking. Today’s blog post about Garlic Scapes is the third in a series of posts All About Strange Vegetables.
In my opinion garlic scapes strongly qualify as a strange vegetable. First of all, they look like some kind of alien antennae. They’re also not exactly commonplace in most kitchens. Despite their strangeness, however, they’re totally approachable with their mild garlic flavor, shelf stability, and ease of preparation.
In this article, you’ll find all you need to know to get started preparing (and even growing) your own garlic scapes. If you’re already a garlic scape master please share your experience and recipes in the comment section at the end of the article for all to enjoy and learn from!
Also, check out some of my other strange vegetable guides:
- All About North Georgia Candy Roaster Squash
- All About Blue Hubbard Squash
Garlic Scapes – allium sativum
Garlic is originally native to Central Asia and Iran. It has been consumed by humans for thousands of years and has long been disseminated across the globe for use medicinally and in culinary traditions. Garlic scapes are simply the tender shoots of the garlic plant.
Garlic scapes grow up from the woody stock of the plant into green, curly tendrils with a bud, or the umbel, on the end. If allowed to continue growing, the bud will produce a cluster of small white or purple flowers that will eventually seed.
The scapes are harvested above the woody stock while the bud is small and tender. Whether they are consumed or not, Garlic scapes are generally removed from the plant so that, as it matures, it’s energy can be focused on growing the bulb instead of the flower. As such, it makes sense to use this tasty garden gem.
A milder, sweeter form of garlic. Some say it tastes like a cross between garlic and chives.
Substitute in most recipes that call for garlic, scallions, or chives. Garlic scapes can be sautéed, braised, roasted, and grilled. Enjoy them raw as a pesto, infused with oil, in an aioli, or in butter. Preserve them for later by freezing, canning, or fermenting them.
Garlic scapes are a good source of Vitamins A and C as well as fiber. They boast many of the nutritional benefits of garlic cloves, including being high in antioxidants, which, as part of a healthy diet, decrease inflammation in the body and are protective against things like arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.
To Harvest and Prep For Cooking:
If harvesting them from your own garden, cut above the woody part of the stem so that you are only harvesting the tender tendril and flower (refer to the illustration above).
Wash with cool water before use, being sure to remove any dirt leftover from the garden. As their season winds down, the tip, or beak, will yellow. Trim off and discard the beak as needed.
The tendril and the bud are edible. Consume the entire scape, or you can discard the bud depending on your preference. Cook the scape whole, chopped, or minced depending on your intended use.
Generally 12 to 18 inches long with a quarter-inch diameter. Note that the smaller specimens are more tender and enjoyable to eat.
Where To Get It:
Seasonally available from the end of May to early July, but you’re unlikely to find these at your local grocery store… Find it at your local farmer’s market or CSA. Of course, you can also grow your own garlic and harvest your own scapes!
Simply put, plant garlic.
The easiest way to grow garlic is from reserved garlic cloves. Plant the cloves in mid-autumn in a well draining area that gets full sun.
If you live in a cold region, then plant about 4-6 weeks before hard frost. Plant the cloves root-side-down and 4 to 6 inches apart in rows that are 1.5 to 2 feet apart. Cover the cloves with 1 to 2 inches of soil.
If you live in a colder region that experiences a hard frost, then also cover with 4 to 6 inches of mulch, straw, leaves, or grass clippings.
In the spring a stem and leaves will appear. The stem will continue to grow upward, and by late spring into early summer it will curl 1 time at the top, which means the scapes are ready to be harvested.
As mentioned above, to harvest the scape cut above the woody area of the stem to enjoy the tender and flavorful garlic scape.
Garlic can also be planted from seed in the same way as the garlic cloves. The only difference is you don’t need to worry about putting the seed root-side-down. It should be noted that seeds are more temperamental to grow and difficult to find.
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
- Sow True Seed
- Seed Savers Exchange
Bundle together with a rubber band and store in an airtight gallon-sized ziplock bag for up to 3 weeks.
Garlic scapes can also be chopped, placed in a freezer-safe ziplock bag, and stored frozen for up to one year. Simply remove the desired amount of frozen scapes and then reseal the bag as you like throughout the year.
Garlic scapes can also be pickled and fermented. See the recipe section below for more info.
- Garlic Scape White Bean Dip by Simple Seasonal
- How to Make an Easy Summer Quiche Recipe (Garlic Scape Quiche) by Confessions of an Overworked Mom
- Fluffy Garlic Scape Buttermilk Cheese Biscuits by She Loves Biscotti
- Diver Scallops with Grilled Garlic Scapes by Simple Seasonal
- Grilled Garlic Scapes with Olive Oil by With Food and Love
- Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto by Earth Food and Fire
- Garlic Scape Pesto with Pistachios by Simple Seasonal
- Vegan Garlic Pesto Alfredo with Grilled Garlic Scapes by The Curious Chickpea
- Garlic Scape Pesto Crostini by Simple Seasonal
- Garlic Scape Infused Olive Oil by Learning and Yearning
- Garlic Scape Aioli by Simple Seasonal
- Ciabatta Steak Sandwiches with Garlic Aioli by Simple Seasonal
- Lacto Fermented Garlic Scapes by Learning and Yearning
- Pickled Garlic Scapes by Bradley Creek Garlic Farms
- Pickled Garlic Scapes by Practical Self Reliance
Perhaps you’ve been seeing wild-looking tangles of garlic scapes at your local farmers’ market. These thin, curly, vibrantly green stalks come into season in the late spring and early summer, when they’re often sold by the bunch. Garlic scapes are the stalks that grow from the bulbs of hardneck garlic plants. If left unharvested, the scapes eventually bloom flowers when the garlic plant fully matures. However, the scapes are usually harvested before they flower so the garlic plant can channel all its energy into producing the most flavorful bulbs. The resulting scapes taste mild and sweet, like chives or scallions, but with a hit of unmistakable garlicky flavor that’s softer than its bulbous counterpart.
Use chopped garlic scapes to add veggie bulk to stir-fries and fried rice. Photo: Gentl & Hyers
Gentl & Hyers
Raw garlic scapes are crunchy like green beans or asparagus, but you can eat scapes raw or cooked, whole or chopped. Prepping them couldn’t be easier: Just trim and discard the stringy tip of the scape, then cut crosswise, either into tiny coins or string bean-like stalks. The easiest way to think about cooking with garlic scapes is to use them the way you would use garlic or scallions, although there’s hardly a wrong way to enjoy these tasty tendrils. The next time you’re at the farmers’ market, pick up a bunch—they’ll keep for weeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator—then try out some of these 10 ways our test kitchen staff likes to use garlic scapes:
10 Things to Do with Garlic Scapes
- Blitz some stalks into a garlicky pesto. If you’re a hardcore garlic fan, leave out the basil altogether in favor of the scapes. Otherwise, substitute garlic scapes for up to half of your greens and proceed as usual. (Don’t have a go-to pesto recipe? Find one here.)
Onion Frittata? More like garlic scape frittata. Photo: Marcus Nilsson
Fold chopped and sautéed garlic scapes into frittatas or our best-ever scrambled eggs.
Chop garlic scapes into little coins and add to stir-fries and fried rice.
Blitz some chopped garlic scapes into a creamy green goddess dressing. Photo: Hirsheimer & Hamilton
Hirsheimer & Hamilton
Finely dice a couple of garlic scapes and and mix into a vinaigrette. (They also make a tasty addition to green goddess dressing.)
Throw whole scapes on the grill, just like you would make grilled scallions.
Fold chopped scapes into a dip for grilled meat or roasted veg.
Pickle garlic scapes just like ramps—they’ll take on a mellow, green bean flavor. Photo: Danny Kim
Cut garlic scapes into 6-inch pieces and pickle them. (Think pickled green beans or thin kosher dill pickles.)
Sauté scapes and use them as a pizza topping. Don’t forget to save any leftover sautéeing oil for drizzling.
Use the scapes whole in a warm-weather-friendly braise.
Mix chopped scapes with a stick of butter to make a garlicky compound butter for grilled or pan-fried fish.
Regular garlic is pretty amazing too, especially when it comes to knots.
What are Garlic Scapes?
Garlic scapes—slim, serpentine flower stems—grow from the tops of hardneck garlic. Farmers have long known that removing them encourages the plant to direct its energy toward growing a plump underground bulb, but only recently has this agricultural byproduct begun to find its way to farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture boxes, usually in late spring.
Our tasters found that raw garlic scapes have an assertive garlic flavor that’s less fiery and more grassy than that of raw cloves. Because garlic scapes have a tough and fibrous texture, we found that they worked best minced or pureed for raw applications. Pureed with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts, they produced a simple yet potent pesto.
When the scapes were cooked, tasters noted that the garlic flavor became more muted and sweet—more like roasted garlic than raw—and the texture was impressively dense and meaty. For the simplest preparation, we tossed the scapes with oil, salt, and pepper and cooked them on the grill over medium-high heat until they were softened and lightly charred, about 15 minutes. We also found that they worked very well when substituted for the green beans in a spicy stir-fry, as their mellow garlic flavor complemented the heat.
Garlic scapes are very hardy; we found that they can be refrigerated in a zipper-lock bag, left slightly open, for up to three weeks. The stem ends and the flower pods can be quite fibrous even when cooked, so we recommend trimming them before use.
What The Heck Are Garlic Scapes?
Used to add flavor to a wide variety of dishes, garlic is one of the most popular flavors on the culinary scene. But did you know that the bulbous garlic root isn’t the only edible part of the plant? The green shoots, or stems, that grow from those roots – more properly known as garlic scapes – are also edible, and are becoming a staple on the tables of backyard gardeners and farmers’ market shoppers.
What Are Garlic Scapes?
Sprouting out of the ground in late spring, garlic scapes are thin, curly, green stems, resembling grass or wild onions. Growers cut them off to allow more of the plant’s resources to stay focused within the bulb. Young ones are tender and delicious. They generally have a milder taste than the cloves, similar to shallots or chives. They can be diced up finely and added to various dishes for extra flavor, or sautéed in olive oil and enjoyed on their own.
Curling garlic scape tendrils often include a bulge in the middle. This is the unopened flower of the plant. It is also edible, though not as tender as the rest of the stem. Some people cut it off and discard it, while others simply eat it.
Are There Health Benefits in Garlic Scapes?
Garlic scapes are a good source of protein, vitamin C, and calcium and, like garlic cloves, can help to prevent heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer. They can also provide immune system support and reduce inflammation.
Where Can You Get Garlic Scapes?
Garlic scapes are only available for a short window of time in late spring and early summer, available at most farmers’ markets. You can even buy them online. It’s OK to store your garlic scapes in the fridge, where they’ll stay fresh for up to 3 weeks. They can also be frozen.
Harvesting Your Own
If you are growing garlic and you want big, flavorful bulbs, you’ll want to cut off the scapes as they emerge in early summer, before the plant flowers. The reason for this is so that the plant can put its energy in the bulb rather than the flowers that will emerge.
Here are a few tasty ways to enjoy this flavorful garlicky treat:
Sautéed Garlic Scapes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place as many garlic scapes as you have, or will fit, into a large frying pan. Drizzle with olive oil — just enough to coat each scape without pooling at the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat, until the scapes start to brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garlic Scape Pesto
1 cup diced garlic scapes
1/3 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
Place garlic scapes and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until they form a thick, dry paste. Gradually add oil and pulse until integrated. Using a rubber spatula, scoop the pesto out into a mixing bowl. Add Parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste.
Garlic Scape Pizza
1 lb. whole wheat pizza dough
1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
6 garlic scapes
Allow pizza dough to sit and rise until it stretches easily. Preheat your oven to 450° F. Brush a large cookie sheet with olive oil and fit the dough to the pan. Cover the dough with pizza sauce and top with cheese. Cut the garlic scapes into 3” segments and place evenly over the cheese. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
What Are Scapes and How Do I Cook Them?
“What the heck are these scape thingies?!!” There it is, one of those questions that so many people are afraid to ask because it just might show the world that they’re not a “real” foodie. Not to worry, I am one of those people who will happily reveal my ignorance for the benefit of the whole class.
Three years ago I was first asked about scapes by some cooking class participants who were doing a CSA for the first time, and I was equally oblivious. I had never heard of them and just thought they looked like little green onion domes perched on super skinny stalks. Turns out, they’re actually pretty special, and often found in gourmet or natural food stores. Which is funny, because they grow on some of the humblest plants in your veggie garden!
If you’ve ever planted garlic, leeks, or onions, or seen them growing somewhere in the spring, there’s a good chance you’ve seen scapes before. The scape is the flower stalk, and if left on the plant, will open up into a very pretty flower (like on my crazy overgrown green onions below). But it turns out that means the plant’s growing energy is going into the flower, and not the bulb that you are probably hoping to eat, so it’s better to follow the example of farmers much smarter and more experienced than me and try harvesting scapes before they blossom.
So yeah, they’re pretty cool looking, even before they flower, but I especially love them because I am such a fan of eating as many parts of a plant as possible. Exciting extras like pea shoots, kale flowers, or squash blossoms, make growing your own veggies even more special. And don’t even get me started on the money it can save you! No really, don’t, I could go on for pages.
This year, we are doing our CSA with Mosby Farms, and our very first box contained this large bunch of lovely spring green leek scapes. Now when I researched scapes a few years ago, I found a lot of recipes with garlic scapes, but it took me another year to realize that they also grow on leeks and onions. I have to admit (again, for the good of the class) that although I read a lot about them, this is my first year to actually try cooking with scapes.
In my hands on exploration this week, I’ve found that they’re delightfully mild versions of the plant they come from. So, if leeks taste like mild onions, I guess you could say that leek scapes taste like REALLY mild onions. I just say they’re delicious.
I found that cooking scapes is very similar to cooking onions, you can chop them up and use them in various recipes. But I also found them to be a lot like another favorite spring greenie, the oh so versatile asparagus. Though the flavor is quite different from asparagus, if you want to feature the scapes in a recipe or on their own, the cooking technique is pretty much the same.
Below are some quick tips for cooking with scapes, and a few links to some of my blogging buddies’ scape recipes that I’ll be trying this week. So get yourself to the nearest farmer’s market or fancy schmancy grocery store to find some scapes of your own. Or you could ask your clueless vegetable growing neighbor if they’d like you to cut off those pesky flowers before they blossom and steal all that growing energy. I won’t tell if you don’t!
How to Harvest Scapes:
Look for the spear or shoot with a small bulb coming out of the center of the plant. Depending on the plant (leek, onion, garlic) the bulb may be more elongated, and the shoot may have curled once or twice. Use sharp garden shears (or a pair of scissors if…ahem…you still don’t own garden shears) to cut the shoot off near the top set of leaves.
How to Cook Scapes:
Scapes chopped into small pieces are great substitutes for finely chopped onion. They can be a little tough, so if I’m using them in something like a quiche (oh yes, recipe is coming!), I give them a quick sauté first. You can chop scapes into larger pieces, about an inch, to use in stir fries, curries, pasta, and casseroles. If you’d like to really feature the scapes, try coating them in a little oil and roasting or grilling until tender, or cook and purée them into a scape pesto.
How to Preserve Scapes:
You can chop your scapes and freeze them in a plastic bag, then use them like any frozen vegetable, no need to thaw them first. I like saving frozen ones for using in soups in the winter when I’m desperate for spring. You can also pickle the scapes for a lovely snack or to add to an antipasto platter.
Garlic Scape Carbonara – Sarah’s Cucina Bella
Garlic Scape Pesto – Dorie Greenspan
White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip – The Kitchn
Pickled Garlic Scapes – Not Without Salt
Garlic Scape Pizza – Herbivoraceous
Asian Pickled Leek Scapes – A Baking Life
We’d love to keep in touch. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and get your free download of our favorite healthy cute kid snacks.
Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your costs will be the same but Eating Richly Even When You’re Broke will receive a small commission. This helps us to cover some of the costs for this site. Thank you so much for your support!
Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.
Everything You Need to Know About Garlic Scapes
Just a few weeks ago spring garlic was in season. Now, the spotlight moves to garlic scapes. As garlic matures, so do the plant’s flowerless green stalks (a.k.a. the scapes). If left intact, the stalks will eventually grow small bulbs, which can be planted. But usually they’re chopped off, to give the growing garlic as much strength and nutrients as possible. Garlic bulbs aren’t the only ones to benefit from these trimmings—chefs and eaters alike can enjoy the long, curling, aromatic stalks in delicious spring dishes.
Where: Scapes grow from hardneck garlic, which prefers a cooler climate, so you’ll have the best luck finding them in areas like the Northeast and the Midwest.
What to look for: While the long, super-curly scapes are beautiful, the smaller, shorter ones are much more tender. Look for bright green scapes that have just one curl.
Flavor profile: Scapes have a mellow, garlicky flavor with a hint of spice. Think green onion meets garlic meets chive.
Health benefits: Scapes are high in antioxidants and could help reoxygenate blood and protect the liver. They also contain allium compounds, which are thought to help protect against osteoarthritis.
How to eat them: Trimmed of the tips and bottoms, the scapes are delicious simply sautéed in olive oil for an easy spring side dish. They can also be made into pesto, tossed with olive oil and grilled, or chopped and added to a stir-fry or creamy pasta.
- Related:Everything You Need to Know About Ramps
- Everything You Need to Know About Fava Beans
- Everything You Need to Know About Morels
|Sowing time:||Spring, Autumn|
|Planting depth:||1 inch (25 mm)|
|Plant spacing:||4 inches (100 mm)|
|Row spacing:||18 inches (450 mm)|
‘Allium sativum L., commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion family alliaceae. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, and chive. Garlic has been used throughout recorded history for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It has a characteristic pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking.
A bulb of garlic, the most commonly used part of the plant, is divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. The cloves are used as seed, for consumption (raw or cooked), and for medicinal purposes. The leaves, stems (scape), and flowers (bulbils) on the head (spathe) are also edible and are most often consumed while immature and still tender. The papery, protective layers of “skin” over various parts of the plant and the roots attached to the bulb are the only parts not considered palatable.
It is preferable to sow Garlic cloves in late autumn, but they can also be sown in early spring, although you should expect a smaller yield from spring planting.
Spring planting While not advisable you can plant Garlic in late winter or early spring, no later than March, but you will need to chill the garlic prior to planting in order to break it out of its dormancy. You can expect smaller yields from spring plantings, but it also reduces the risk of the plant being damaged by the winter cold. Autumn planting This is the more common time to sow Garlic and you can expect it to produce superior yields. There is a European tradition of planting on the shortest day of the year but this is not necessary, the best time to plant is after the first major frost of the year, usually between mid-October and late November depending on local climate. Garlic is winter hardy but please be aware that the plant can be damaged if the temperature gets very cold and there is minimal snow cover, in this case cover the Garlic with straw to insulate it.
Garlic prefers a site that receives plenty of sun and where the soil is not too damp, Garlic cannot grow in shade. Plant cloves individually, upright (with the flat end pointing down) and about an inch (25 mm) under the surface. Plant the cloves about 4 inches (100 mm) apart. Rows should be about 18 inches (450 mm) apart.
Garlic is not particularly demanding, it will grow in acidic, neutral and alkaline soils, however, it prefers light free draining soil and will not grow well in clay soil or soil that is consistently damp. Garlic does not need very rich soil but prefers soil that is well cultivated with plenty of organic matter, compost or manure.
Garlic planted in the Autumn should produce shoots above ground in early spring, if not there is still time to plant a spring crop which will produce shoots soon after. Garlic does not require much in the way of maintenance but should be watered sparingly in extended dry periods and covered if you experience an extended period of heavy rain. You can apply fertiliser in late March and mid May to encourage growth but this is not necessary to obtain a decent crop.
For tips on cooking with Garlic, check out the page on Garlic in the Cookbook.
Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavour, as a seasoning or condiment or to enhance other flavours. Depending on the form of cooking and the desired result, the flavor is either mellow or intense. It is often paired with onion, tomato, and/or ginger. It is very widely used in Lebanese cuisine: many Lebanese salads contain a garlic sauce. The parchment-like skin is relatively inedible, much like the skin of an onion. The skin is typically removed before cooking, though sometimes alternative approaches are used, such as slice garlic head crosswise, coat in olive oil, roast until the garlic is well cooked, and then the roasted garlic separates quite easily from the skins (by pulling it out, shaking it out, and/or squeezing it out). The term ‘clove’ is sometimes misinterpreted to mean the whole garlic bulb (head).
Garlic is commonly stored in cooking oil with herbs to yield an oil infused with flavour. Garlic-infused oils are widely available. Care must be taken preparing such, as there is a risk of botulism developing in the oxygen-free oil if the product is not stored properly. To reduce the risk of botulism, the oil containing the garlic must be refrigerated and used within one week. (see Caution below). Commercial producers use a combination of salts and/or acids to eliminate the risk of botulism in their products. In Chinese cuisine, the young bulbs are pickled for 3–6 weeks in a mixture of sugar, salt and spices. Pickled garlic is available at supermarkets. The shoots are often pickled in Russia and states of the Caucasus and eaten as an appetizer.
Immature scapes are tender and edible. They are also known as ‘garlic spears’, ‘stems’, or ‘tops’. Scapes generally have a milder taste than cloves. They are often used in stir frying or prepared like asparagus. Garlic leaves are a popular vegetable in many parts of Asia, particularly in particular Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cambodian. The leaves are cut, cleaned and then stir-fried with eggs, meat or vegetables.
harvested cloves must retain their outer covering to avoid dehydration,cloves harvested during late summer affect the drying and storage when wet is required this achieved by storing at 0-4 degrees centigrade,although this cold storage my induce dormancy treatment with growth inhibitor promote storability. all cloves selected for planting should be disease free, good quality and well matured.
Garlic is grown from Individual cloves. Each clove will produce one plant with a single bulb, which may in turn produce up to twenty cloves. the cloves will not germinate naturally just like any other seeds this because garlic cloves posses some physiological dormancy which has to be treated for their sprouting. cold treatment 0-4 degree inside refrigeration at a period of between 2–3 weeks will break dormancy and induce sprouting another method of breaking that dormancy is by use of hormone gibbellin GA3 commercially obtain with trade name rootex, concentration of 20% has been found to induce rooting, the basal plate of the cloves is treated and cloves planted in media in upright manner. experimental research as shown a faster and vigorous growth rate once treatments are administered. in temperate and sub tropics chilling can be achieved naturally by planting cloves before winter begin this natural mechanism will help treat the cloves and at the beginning of summer 100% sprouting will be obtained
The trickiest part of growing Garlic is determining when to harvest your crop, harvest too early and your cloves will be small, harvest too late and the bulb will have started to split, Traditionally in Europe Garlic would be harvested on the longest day of the year but this is not always the best time to harvest. As garlic matures the leaves turn brown and begin to die, this is your cue to harvest your garlic, this can happen any time between June and August so you will need to keep an eye on your crop as it matures and you should harvest when the leaves are about 50% green and 50% brown. It can also be beneficial to pull a single garlic when the leaves turn to assess if the bulb is mature enough, if they are still small you can probably afford to leave them a bit longer, it they are starting to split then you know that you will have to harvest your crop immediately.
The temptation when harvesting is to pull your garlic from the ground by the stem, it is better, however, to gently lift the garlic from underneath with a garden fork. Once picked it is essential that the Garlic is dried properly or it will rot, it is also important at this stage to NOT wash the garlic as this may also cause rot. Fresh Garlic can also be consumed but without curing can only be stored for a short period of time. Once you have harvested your garlic make sure that you do not remove the stem and leaves as the Garlic will continue to draw nutrient from the plant, also do not leave the garlic out in the sun for any lengh oftime as it can scorch the garlic and leech the flavour from it. The Garlic should be stored in a dry place at room temperature that is not in direct sunlight, they will need good air movement to prevent spoilage so they can benefit from being hung by their stems. The curing process takes about a month, anywhere between 14 and 25 days.
Garlic will keep for a number of months after curing but will need to be stored in suitable conditions, usually at room temperature and in an environment with enough humidity to prevent the garlic from drying out. Once cured you can either remove the leaves and stems or if you prefer remove the leaves and use the stems to braid your garlic together.
Pests & Diseases
Pests On the whole Garlic is resilient to most pests, it is often used in companion planting for this reason, however, it is affected by some pests. Bulb Mites Bulb mites can grow up to 1mm long. They are slightly off-white and shiny, with a bulbous shape. Usually found clustered in the roots of the plant bulb mites can stunt plant growth, resulting in smaller crops. Bulb mite can also cause garlic to rot during storage and as they survive from one season to the next it is advisable to use crop rotation and rotate to a non-allium crop. Pea Leafminer (Liriomyza huidobrensis) Adult Leafminers are small black and yellow flies that lay eggs within the leaf tissue of plants. The small white larvae hatch and tunnel inside the leaves, causing a pattern of damage that is visible to the eye. Damage to garlic is negligible and mainly cosmetic as leafminers only attack the leaves, however, leafminers can pose a threat to other vegetables where the leaves are the main crop. Wheat Curl Mite (Eriophyes tulipae) The Wheat Curl Mite is small and difficult to see, but possible infestations can be treated by immersing the garlic clove in hot water, but be careful as water that is too hot may kill the garlic. Wheat curl mites do not present a major threat to growing garlic unless the infestation is severe. Sever infestations present themselves by stunting growth and causing the leaves to become streaked and twisted. The main threat is to harvested garlic as the mite can cause the bulbs to dry out and crumle, plannting affected garlic increases the risk of Yellow Streak Virus. Diseases Garlic Rot This is probably the most common garlic disease. There are two frequently encountered rots: Basal Rot (Fusarium oxysporum) Basal rot is a slow developing condition. Affected garlic plants show gradual yellowing and leaf dieback. There is sometimes a white fungal growth visible at the base of an infected bulb leading to the bulb rotting. Symptoms continue to get worse even after harvesting. Basal rot is favoured by higher temperatures and hence more common in warmer climates. White Rot (Sclerotium cepivorum) The symptoms of white rot are very similar to those of basal rot, however it attacks the growing garlic more quickly and is more likely to kill the plant outright. White rot prefers cooler temperatures. Dipping seed garlic in hot water before planting can reduce the chance of white rot but be careful: too high a temperature could kill the garlic itself. Rust (Puccinia porri) Rust first shows as leaf blotches of a reddish orange colour. If a plant is heavily infected then the leaves turn yellow and can collapse completely. Garlic plants infected by rust will produce a lower than usual yield and can produce deformed bulbs. Heavily infected plants can die. Downy Mildew (Peronospora destructor) Downy mildew can be recognised by an off-white, sometimes slightly purple, furry growth on the leaves of the garlic plant. The leaves go on to yellow then collapse. Since downy mildew is airborne, patterns of yellowing often follow prevailing wind directions in a large crop. Downy mildew can kill young plants and causes stunting in older ones.
Companion planting is the practice of growing plants together that provide mutual benefits to each other. Garlic is a particularly useful plant in companion planting as it can assist other crops in a variety of ways.
Garlic Deters many pests including:
- Carrot root fly
- Japanese Beetles
- Root maggots
- codling moths
It is also supposed to deter snails and even deer, but due to the stubbornness of these pests I would not expect any major success, additionally concentrated garlic sprays can be used to deter white-flies, aphids and fungus gnats among others.
Garlic is also a natural fungicide as well as pesticide, it accumulates sulpher, which is a naturally occurring fungicide and the powerful antibiotic and anti fungal compound allicin is released when garlic cloves are crushed. This also occurs when the clove is bitten into. Thus pests attacking garlic are likely to release its natural pesticide.
Companion planting Garlic is beneficial to most vegetables and soft fruit, as well as roses as it deter Aphids and helps prevent blackspot. Garlic is particularly beneficial to Carrots, lettuce and cabbage as it deters many common pest and can also improve the flavor of some vegetables; including Beetroot and cabbage.
Garlic should not be planted with Legumes, peas or potatoes as it can negatively affect their growth and flavor.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Garlic
Clove of Garlic vs. Head of Garlic
That little guy that you’re looking at to the left is a clove of garlic.
If you break up a head of garlic, you get lots of smaller cloves. Most garlic recipes call for a few garlic cloves, typically two or three.
When you buy garlic, you’re buying a head of garlic. If you break that up, it’ll come apart in segments that still have skin and wrapping on them. Each of those segments is a garlic clove.
Very few recipes other than roasted garlic call for you to cook the the entire head of garlic at one time.
When cooking with garlic, you’re almost always using just a few cloves from the head or bulb.
A head of garlic (also called a bulb) is shown to the right, with one of its cloves pulled away and peeled.
If you’re new to cooking with garlic it’s very common to get confused as to what is a clove of garlic and what a head of garlic is.
A Clove of Garlic Doesn’t Seem Like Very Much
A clove of garlic will go a long way in most dishes.
Chopping up a clove or two may not produce an impressive pile but garlic packs a potent punch.
Don’t be fooled by its small size and assume that the recipe really meant for you to chop up two heads of garlic as that’d be far too much, even for many diehard garlic fans.
Compared to many other vegetables that you chop and use in recipes, you’ll be using a very small amount of garlic.
How Many Cloves are in a Head of Garlic?
The number of cloves in a head of garlic depends on the variety, and can range from as few as four or five cloves up to thirty or more cloves for other garlic varieties.
As far as typical garlic that you find on supermarket shelves, you’ll most commonly be buying a garlic variety called California Late that usually has 10-15 cloves.
The number of cloves isn’t exact, even for the same variety. One plant from a variety might have 10 cloves while a neighboring plant of the same exact variety might have 15.
Know Thy Recipe
How you’ll be using the garlic in your recipe also dictates just how much garlic you’ll really need to chop, mince, or crush in a garlic press.
Raw garlic is very strong and intense, so any dish calling for raw garlic will usually call for just a clove or two.
Roasted or baked garlic will call for much more — sometimes 40 cloves or more for some baked dishes — as baking or roasting garlic will cause the flavor to mellow and be much less intense.
Photo: Claire Lower Eating Trash With ClaireEating Trash With ClaireThe series where Claire Lower convinces you to transform your kitchen scraps into something edible and delicious
Garlic, once sprouted, is much too bitter to eat, but that doesn’t mean you should toss it. Bury it in a bit of potting soil and give it some sun, and you could be eating tasty garlic greens in just a week.
This is part of Eating Trash With Claire, a Lifehacker series where Claire Lower convinces you to transform your kitchen scraps into something edible and delicious.
I am, historically, very bad at plants, but even I can pull this project off. All you need to do is separate the cloves, leaving the papery skin on.
Photo: Claire Lower
Next, take a pot and fill it with potting soil, leaving about an inch of space at the top. Put two or three cloves in the soil, sprouted end up, and cover the cloves the rest of the way with soil. It’s okay if you cover up the sprouted portion; it will eventually push through on its own.
Photo: Claire Lower Advertisement
Keep the soil moist but not wet, and you should see green garlic shoots within a week or so. You won’t get a whole head of garlic, but those delicious, allium-y greens can be used just like you would green onions or chives. I particularly enjoy on a baked potato, or grilled alongside some flaky fish, but there’s really no savory dish that doesn’t benefit from a gently nudge of garlic flavor.
JOSH BYRNE: When planting garlic, it’s best to use the big, fat cloves. You’ll get stronger plants and a better crop at the end of the season. But what to do with these little ones that are left over?
Well, you can always eat them but, to be honest, there’s not much left by the time they’ve been peeled. So here’s another idea.
You can use them to grow edible shoots – a bit like chives, but they’re much more pungent and garlic-tasting and I just plant them into a pot, like this.
Now, the garlic plants themselves are quite shallow-rooted so you only need a shallow pot and this one’s nice and wide so I can squeeze more in and it’s filled with regular potting mix but before planting, I add some of this. It’s aged, pulverised chicken manure. A couple of small handfuls and blend it through thoroughly so it’s not too rich to plant into to start with.
There we go, smooth that over and you can plant these up very densely, much more than you normally would if you were growing them for their bulbs.
Now, I’m planting these base plate down, pointy bit up and see, I’m planting about a dozen of these in a pot of this size. Once they’re all in, it’s just a matter of back-filling them.
Now, they’ll need to be in a sunny spot and they’ll need to be watered in well and kept moist and they’ll need an occasional feed of liquid fish emulsion to really give them a boost along and keep those shoots growing nice and quickly to keep them really tender.
How easy’s that?
Don’t throw out old, sprouting garlic — it has heart-healthy antioxidants
“Garlic Sprouting Is Associated with Increased Antioxidant Activity and Concomitant Changes in the Metabolite Profile”
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
“Sprouted” garlic — old garlic bulbs with bright green shoots emerging from the cloves — is considered to be past its prime and usually ends up in the garbage can. But scientists are reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that this type of garlic has even more heart-healthy antioxidant activity than its fresher counterparts.
Jong-Sang Kim and colleagues note that people have used garlic for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Today, people still celebrate its healthful benefits. Eating garlic or taking garlic supplements is touted as a natural way to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart disease risk. It even may boost the immune system and help fight cancer. But those benefits are for fresh, raw garlic. Sprouted garlic has received much less attention. When seedlings grow into green plants, they make many new compounds, including those that protect the young plant against pathogens. Kim’s group reasoned that the same thing might be happening when green shoots grow from old heads of garlic. Other studies have shown that sprouted beans and grains have increased antioxidant activity, so the team set out to see if the same is true for garlic.
They found that garlic sprouted for five days had higher antioxidant activity than fresher, younger bulbs, and it had different metabolites, suggesting that it also makes different substances. Extracts from this garlic even protected cells in a laboratory dish from certain types of damage. “Therefore, sprouting may be a useful way to improve the antioxidant potential of garlic,” they conclude.
The authors acknowledge funding from the IPET High Value-Added Food Technology Development Program.