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The green stem-like shoots that are often removed from the cloved heads of garlic that we most often use in recipes are commonly known as garlic scapes. These shoots can be chopped and added to many recipes, both cooked and raw, for a milder more complex garlic flavor. You can include them in sauteed dishes, dressings, dips, vinegars and any other recipe you can think to try to add an Asian influence or tone down the garlic flavors of the dish.

Chop the garlic scapes with a sharp knife on a cutting board before using.

Add chopped fresh or dried garlic scapes to a sauteed dish before the main ingredients, when the oil is hot, or while the ingredients are simmering. Adding them in the beginning of the dish will bring out sweeter tones whereas adding them later in the cooking process will result in a bolder garlic taste.

Stir pieces of garlic shoots into sour cream for a dipping sauce, into pesto for a variation on the traditional flavors. You can also stir them into an olive oil and vinegar blend along with other herbs such as pepper, basil and oregano for a new and different salad dressing.

Can garlic scapes in vinegar for a few weeks. The result is pickled garlic scapes, which can be served with other pickled vegetables in a medley, or cooked normally for an exotic twist to a recipe. The vinegar solution will also now be flavored with the sweet garlic notes and can be used as a craft vinegar in recipes and on salads.

Sprinkle chopped garlic scapes onto salads, on top of pizza or into bean blends for a bit of zest.


Try substituting garlic shoots when recipes call for garlic cloves to see how the newer parts of the plant change the flavors.


Take care using sharp knives.

About the Author

Annelies de Groot

Annelies de Groot was first published in 2007. She has contributed to local east coast papers and has worked for environmental and educational nonprofits. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John's College in Maryland.