Freezing garlic scapes couldn’t be easier! Learn how to preserve these long-anticipated delights in just a few simple steps.
There are so many beautiful things that signal the start of summer in the garden! Chive blossoms, chamomile, and garlic scapes are some of the best.
As you are harvesting your delicious, long-anticipated garlic scapes, you may be wondering if it’s possible to freeze them.
The answer is yes; garlic scapes freeze very well. Freezing is one of the easiest and best methods for preserving food to enjoy later on in the year. Best of all, freezing garlic scapes couldn’t be easier!
What are Garlic Scapes?
Garlic scapes are the flower stalk of hardneck garlic plants. In late spring or early summer, hardneck garlic, which is planted in the fall, will produce a stem with a flower bud at the end of it. If left alone, the garlic will flower and go to seed.
Gardeners usually remove the garlic scape before it flowers so the garlic plant’s energy can be put into producing larger garlic bulbs rather than a flower.
Fortunately, the garlic scape needn’t go to waste. Scapes are a lightly garlicky, delicious addition to a variety of dishes. In fact, garlic scapes have become a specialty item that gardeners, farmers, and chefs look forward to each year.
Can You Freeze Garlic Scapes?
Freezing garlic scapes is an easy and effective way to preserve them for use at a later date. While garlic scapes do last for several weeks in the fridge, freezing will allow you to store your scapes for months.
Because garlic scapes only come around once a year, there is a lot of pressure to enjoy them! If you don’t have time to use them or simply would like to enjoy your garlic scapes later in the year, freezing is the best way to preserve them for long-term storage.
Frozen garlic scapes maintain their flavor and texture very well, without any blanching.
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How to Harvest Garlic Scapes
Harvesting garlic scapes is very easy. Once the stem gets long and the flower is still just a bud, cut or break the bottom of the stem where it meets the garlic plant.
How to Store Garlic Scapes in the Fridge
Garlic scapes have a pretty astounding shelf life for fresh produce. They can last for weeks in the proper conditions.
To store garlic scapes in the refrigerator, choose one of these two methods:
- Lay the garlic scapes down on a damp paper towel and store them in an airtight container.
- Fill a jar with water and place the scapes in the water, cut side down, as you would a flower bouquet.
Monitor your garlic scapes and if they start to wilt or yellow, it’s time to eat them or freeze them.
How to Freeze Garlic Scapes
There are a few different methods you may use to freeze garlic scapes. Which one you use will depend on your needs and the amount of time available to you.
Freeze the Fresh Scapes
Freezing plain, raw scapes is very easy and allows for the most flexibility in how you use the frozen scapes down the road.
- Wash your scapes and chop them into small pieces, around ¼ inch wide.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the chopped scapes onto it in a single layer.
- Flash freeze the garlic scapes on the baking tray to prevent them from freezing together in a large clump.
- Once the scapes have frozen, around 3-4 hours, transfer them to a labeled plastic bag and return to the freezer immediately.
Do you have to blanch garlic scapes to freeze them?
Some instructions will encourage you to blanch your garlic scapes before freezing. Blanching is a method of lightly boiling vegetables and then submerging them in an ice bath to rapidly chill them. Blanching, in certain cases, helps to maintain the color, texture, and flavor of a vegetable that is being frozen.
I have tried it both ways and have not found a difference between the blanched scapes and the ones that were frozen raw, so the easier of the two methods wins.
Freeze Them in Olive Oil
If you plan to use the frozen garlic scapes sauteed, you can freeze them in olive oil. I recommend doing this in ice cube trays or other small portions so you can use a single serving easily without thawing more than you need.
- Wash your scapes and chop them into ⅛-¼ inches pieces.
- Fill the cells of an ice cube tray to the top with chopped scapes, packing as many into each cell as possible.
- Pour olive oil into each ice cube cell until it is filled to the top.
- Freeze the ice cube trays until the olive oil is solid, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag.
To use the garlic scape oil cubes, simply remove one from the freezer and place it in a preheated pan. The oil will melt and become your cooking oil for sauteeing the scapes.
Freeze Them as Pesto or Butter
One of my favorite ways to freeze garlic scapes is in a prepared condiment such as garlic scape butter or pesto. By putting in the work upfront, you have unique and delicious ways to spice up a meal ready to go in the freezer. To use this preservation method, first, prepare one (or both!) of these recipes:
Pack them in single serving sizes into freezer-safe containers such as mason jars or plastic containers. To use them, remove one container from the freezer and allow it to thaw at room temperature for a few hours or in the fridge overnight.
How to Use Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are a great addition to just about any cooked, savory dish. They are also delightful when simply sauteed in some oil. They taste like garlic with the texture of asparagus. I love adding scapes to pasta sauce, stir fry, and egg dishes. They also taste great fresh and can be used in salad dressings, dips, and spreads for a blast of flavor.
Where Do You Get Garlic Scapes?
The simplest way to find garlic scapes is to grow your own garlic! They are not a common thing to find at your local grocery store. Of course, that may not be an option, so the next place to look is your local farmer’s markets. Many small farmers will sell fresh garlic scapes sometime between May and July.
Note: If you do want to grow your own garlic scapes, be sure to plant hardneck garlic cloves in the fall, around late October. Softneck varieties are planted in the spring and do not produce scapes.
Recommended Equipment for Freezing Garlic Scapes