Have you ever seen an elephant garlic scape? They’re incredibly beautiful.
They’re long and thin with a tear-shaped flower bud at its tip. There’s an eclectic little health food store not too far from where I live that regularly sells small batches of different locally-grown vegetables or fruits.
Recently, I ran into this gorgeous bunch of elephant garlic scapes, which I had never seen before.
I had to buy them.
A scape comes from the garlic plant. In early to mid-June, a garlic plant will send up a stalk from the center of the plant called the garlic scape. The scape, if left on the plant, will form the flower and then go to seed.
I let a few of my elephant garlic scapes go to flower. They’re a pastel, delicate-science-fictionesque beauty. Like mini versions of themselves, newer flowers are white, while older flowers are purple.
Removing the scape allows the plant to put all of its energy into increasing the garlic bulb size instead. Scapes can be used just like garlic, though they aren’t as strong as a garlic clove.
Elephant garlic scapes are the scapes from the elephant garlic plant.
I brought my elephant garlic scapes home and washed them. Next, I trimmed the bottoms and placed them in a mason jar filled with a bit of water to keep them fresh until I was ready to use them.
Since I’ve never used elephant garlic scapes before, I had to do a bit of searching for inspiration. I didn’t find much on elephant garlic scapes, so I resorted to experimenting.
Which is more fun anyway, right?
I cut off a small piece of the elephant garlic scape and ate it raw to get a sense of how it tasted.
To me, they look a little like large chives, so I expected them to taste like a chive or leek—and they do—but with a much more intense flavor. They aren’t unpleasantly onion or garlic tasting, but rather have a distinct garlic essence which I really liked.
I decided to use them the same way I would chives. Using nutty quinoa as my base, I paired my elephant garlic scapes with earthy mushrooms, fresh dill, and bright lemon juice.
Together they create a fresh summer dish that can be eaten warm or cold.
Incredibly versatile, you can pack this dish in a picnic or a lunch box, eat it as a side dish or on top of chopped greens for a hearty main meal. If you can’t find elephant garlic scapes, substitute them for chives or thinly sliced leeks.
Do you have questions? Ask me in the comments. Did you make this recipe? Tag it on Instagram with #yourdailyvegan because I want to see what you create!