What to do with a ton of garlic scapes?

By Jerri

What to do? FERMENT THEM of course! Garlic scapes are the curly part of the garlic stalk that shoots up before garlic is ready to be harvested. You remove the scapes so that the energy for growth goes toward the bulb in its final stage, and not the upper part of the plant. They can be used just like garlic, so why not try fermenting them?

I planted these last fall, with my Sarge watching for squirrels:

Garlic scapes growing in backyard with dog running behind them

What a difference today!

garlic scapes growing in a garden

So these were sitting on my counter in some water, but I just wasn’t ready to put them in a recipe. I could have refrigerated them for a few weeks, but hey, let’s see what happens when we Get Fermented with them!

So pretty!

garlic scapes growing in water indoors

The most tedious part is cutting them up into teeny tiny pieces.

chopped garlic scapes

I want to use them as a garnish, or to stir fry, so I am hoping the fermentation process softens them up a bit. Next is to prepare the salt brine. I’m only doing a pint jar of scapes, so likely will only need 1 cup or less of brine. The ratio is 1 to 3 Tablespoons sea salt per 1 quart of water. I settled on about 1/2 Tablespoon of salt.

chopped garlic scapes in a mason jar, ready to ferment

You’ll need an airlock, which you can make yourself, or better yet, buy one from NWFerments and save yourself the hassle!

mason jar airlock kit

Here’s what the airlock looks like put together:

airlock assembled on wide mouth mason jar lid

So pour your brine in the jar, and carefully put weights on top. I had a heckuva time with floating pieces, but most of my scapes were covered.

garlic scapes and brine in mason jar with fermentation airlock

I filled the airlock itself about half way full with water to ensure it creates a seal that will only allow gasses to escape, but no oxygen to enter in. And, I put a bowl underneath in case it goes crazy and leaks…it’s happened!

fermenting garlic scapes in bowl on kitchen counter

Now I wait, aiming for 7 days at least. My kitchen is about 66º, perhaps slightly warmer now that spring is here and summer is just weeks away. I don’t want to ferment veggies any more than 70º, or I risk mushy and unappealing results – possibly even mold that the brew can’t come back from.

Glad I put that bowl underneath! Guess it was a little full!

fermenting garlic scapes with overflowing brine

The result?

They were wonderfully “pickled” in nature! They tasted so good, the texture being only slightly softer. I have now stir fried them with onions and then added them to scrambled eggs, as well as adding them sautéed to other meals. My mom, a vegan, loved them right on her salad.

If a farmer ever offers you garlic scapes, take him or her up on it, and GET FERMENTED!