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Garlic Scapes

Double your garlic harvest by using the curly Q stems, called scapes, in cooking and flower arrangements.

Garlic scapes are the flower stalk of hardneck garlic plants. These curled stems appear about a month or so after the first spring leaves. Remove the scape soon after the swollen area appears near the tip of the stem. This allows the plant to focus its energy into forming a large bulb instead of the bulbils and flowers that sprout from the swelling. Research by the University of Maine found garlic bulbs were 17 to 48% larger when the scapes were removed.

Cut or snap the scape off just below the swollen area. All parts of the scape are edible and can be used fresh or cooked just like garlic. The younger the scape, the milder the flavor. You can store scapes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. 

A bit more information: Scapes are often added to the compost pile where they are turned into rich soil amendment. Consider harvesting and using a few or all for making pesto, dips, salad dressings and more. Check the internet for a wide variety of garlic scape recipes.

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