If left unattended, the scape will grow larger and harden into the familiar opaque white/beige color of garlic peel. Keeping the shoot attached will also curtail further growth of the bulb. So, in an effort to allow the garlic to keep growing, the farmer cuts the 'scapes' or shoots - If you haven't tried them, you MUST!
Try dicing it into scrambled tofu (OR eggs if that's your thing!), adding to stir-fried veggies or as a garnish for rice or a creamy potato soup. My absolute favorite way to use garlic scapes though, is in pesto. The color is bright and green and the garlic flavor is fresh and light, not the strong, robust date-killing aroma that we all associate with garlic. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE garlic in any shape or form or strength, but the mildness of garlic scapes is a refreshing change from the "regular" garlic that invades my kitchen!).
Here's my favorite, (and crazy-super-easy) scape pesto recipe:
1/2 cup roasted, shelled sunflower seeds (or pistachios are good here too, lightly salted is fine)
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup crumbled firm tofu
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil (you may need more)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 bunch garlic scapes (about 4 large)
1 small bunch of arugula, washed and dried (about 1 packed cup baby arugula leaves)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Put sunflower seeds and cashews in food processor and whiz until very fine. Add tofu, lemon juice and olive oil and blend until smooth. This may take a while.
I tossed this pesto with fresh asparagus, peas and pasta for a TOTALLY yummy, locally grown, spring supper. Yum. Have a GREAT weekend!