Garlic Chive Scapes, Versatile and Delicious

| 10/15/2016 12:00:00 AM

While asparagus is clearly the vegetable winner when it comes to Spring harbingers, garlic scapes, those intriguing shoots that form on hardneck varieties, are not far behind.  Prized by professional chefs and adventurous home cooks, scapes are ideally harvested before they open to reveal beautiful pink clusters that look like blossoms, but are actually bulbils, the basis for new garlic plants.  Although delicious, garlic scapes, like most fresh foods, enjoy a brief season, but unlike asparagus, garlic has a “cousin” that produces scapes in late Summer/early Fall and offers harvesters another chance to gather fresh garlicky flavor.

Garlic scapes row may 4 2016
Hardneck Garlic Produces Large Scapes

Garlic chives grow from a fibrous, inedible bulb and produce flat leaves look more like grass than the round leaves of onion chives.  Allium tuberosum is a popular choice for herb beds or flower gardens and since garlic chives reseed freely, it is easy to grow a large crop within a few short years.  Tolerant of heat and cool weather, garlic chives require little maintenance and are not picky about soil conditions, making them a desirable plant for most home gardeners.  Excellent border or container plants, garlic chives reach about 15 inches in height at maturity and clusters of white blossoms open to attract a multitude of pollinators.

bumblebee on garlic chive
Garlic Chive Blossoms Attract Numerous Pollinators

Allow flower heads to dry for intriguing additions to fall floral arrangements, but shake small black seeds free before using the dried heads.  Left intact, these seeds will drop and scatter across floors, furniture and counters.

 garlic chive seedhead
Garlic Chive Seedhead