Extension and Ag Research News


Prairie Fare: Try a new vegetable on your menu this summer

The mild flavor of scapes will appeal to people to enjoy garlic.

“I brought you some scapes,” the graduate student said with a smile as he handed me a plastic bag.

Fortunately, I knew what he meant, or I might have been a bit tentative about opening the bag. I have never been in possession of a bagful of freshly harvested scapes.

I peeked in the bag and saw the long, curly green vegetation. The scapes looked like super-long thin green beans with elegant curls.

I detected a slight garlic aroma, which makes sense. Scapes are the flower stalk of garlic plants. The scapes require the plant’s energy, so they need to be removed before the plants flower. Removing the scapes promotes the development of large, flavorful garlic bulbs.

Scapes are “in season” right now. If you like garlic, you will enjoy the mild flavor of scapes.

I had a cooking project ahead of me: figuring out ways to use the garlic scapes. I began exploring ways to use the long thin green stalks.

Garlic scapes are sold in some farmers markets. If you have a friend growing garlic, you might ask for some scapes. They last up to two weeks in your kitchen. I chose to refrigerate them in my crisper to keep them fresh longer.

As I prepared the scapes, the texture, but not the flavor, reminded me a little of “young” asparagus.

After rinsing them thoroughly, I chopped them into small segments. The skinny portions reminded me of super-long chives. With age, scapes can become a bit “woody,” so you can remove those parts and use the tender areas.

I was making potato packets for the grill, so I added some chopped scapes. I added some to the mushrooms I was sauteeing in a pan on the stove. I turned down the heat so I would not accidentally char the scapes.

My patient husband offered to grill some, but I thought two dishes with garlic scapes was probably enough for our menu.

I could have made “flavored butter” to go with our corn on the cob by sauteeing chopped scapes in butter. Maybe that’s a flavor sensation for our next meal. Some people add some parmesan cheese to the butter.

Other people use scapes as a vegetable, similar to asparagus or green beans. They can be brushed with a favorite oil and grill them in a grill pan.

Others enjoy adding the mild garlic flavor to hummus, which is a mixture of chickpeas, oil and seasonings. We have many hummus recipes available on the NDSU Extension Food and Nutrition website (www.ag.ndsu.edu/food).

You could add them to potato soup or salad. The mild flavor of potatoes would go well with some mild garlic.

If I run out of ideas for scapes in the next week, I can freeze them on a sheet pan and pop them into a freezer bag to use later in cooked dishes.

Be a little adventurous with your menus. Sometimes family members can be a bit leery about trying new things. These green vegetables are so mild and novel that people who enjoy garlic will enjoy them.

As I prepared the scapes, I thought about other foods I have introduced to our family. Many years ago, quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) was new in the Robinson household. When she heard the name, our youngest child hopped around the kitchen doing “quinoa kicks” like a martial artist.

She liked the name of the grain that is native to South American Andes mountains. It is available near the rice in many grocery stores.

This recipe makes use of summer bounty from farmers markets and perhaps your own backyard. This colorful side dish pairs well with your favorite proteins on the grill, including chicken, fish, burgers and steak. You can even add some chopped scapes, if you’d like.

Southwest Quinoa Salad

3 cups cooked quinoa, prepared according to package instructions
1 cup cucumber, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup chopped garlic scapes (optional)
1 (14.5-ounce) can corn, drained (or steamed frozen or fresh corn)
1 (14.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare ingredients as noted. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Makes 16 (1/2-cup) servings. Each serving has 120 calories, 5 grams (g) fat, 4 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber and 60 milligrams sodium.

NDSU Agricultural Communication – July 3, 2024

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, 701-231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu

Editor: Elizabeth Cronin, 701-231-7006, elizabeth.cronin@ndsu.edu

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.