The Great Summer Scape

I love garlic. I put garlic in nearly everything I cook. It is no secret, as you can probably smell it on my breath any given day of the week. Spring can be a sad time for garlic lovers as last fall’s harvest has dwindled to next to nothing and if there is any garlic straggling around it is often spongy and starting to sprout. Needless to say I get excited in late spring when the garlic scapes arrive. The scapes are the curvaceous flower of the garlic plant. Farmers remove them in the spring to direct the plant’s energy to the growth of the bulb. It turns out they are delicious to eat and have become a common find at the farmers market or perhaps in your own garden. The scapes are crunchy and have pronounced garlic flavour but are much milder than the bulb.

I work at the farmers market a couple days a week with Cropthorne Farm, an organic farm on Westham Island. I get many puzzled looks as people pass by the scapes wondering what they are and what to do with them. I can’t count the number of times I explain what they are and what to do with them. Even after sharing my enthusiasm for the scape, many people politely say thank you and carry on unsure and scapeless. Sadly they are missing out on one of spring’s delights.

My top tips are to chop them up and add them soups, pastas, stir-fries, eggs or simply use them in place of garlic in your favourite recipes. Pesto is another great option. I was inspired by the weekly market questions to come up with another use for the scapes and garlic scape butter was the result. This is the first time I have made it and it couldn’t be simpler. It is delicious on warm bread, potatoes or any cooked vegetable for that matter, used to scramble eggs, sauté leafy greens or on fish.

Here's to summer and garlic scapes! Now run out and get some before they are gone for another year.

Garlic Scape Butter

1/3 cup  (80g) room temperature unsalted butter
2 garlic scapes (flower tip removed)
A few good pinches of salt

Place the garlic scapes in the food processor and process until fine. Add in the softened butter and salt and mix until combined. Alternately, chop the scapes finely with a knife and mix with butter and salt in a bowl until combined.

Use right away or place in a glass jar in the fridge for later use.

You can also transfer butter mixture to a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap, and roll into a cylinder, (like a burrito) twisting the ends to close. Chill in the fridge until solid. You can slice off a dab when you need from the fridge or freezer.

Butter will keep refrigerated for about 2 weeks or frozen up to 3 months.

Words and Pictures: Melissa Quantz