Garlic scapes are perhaps one of the EASIEST things to ferment! The only downside is that they are available for such a short time. If you are lucky enough to be able to get them super fresh, you’re really going to love this fermented garlic scapes recipe!
What Are Garlic Scapes?
Garlic scapes are the flowering part of the garlic plant that shoot up from the garlic bulbs. For hard-neck garlic (which are PERFECT for fermenting!), the garlic scapes need to be removed in order to have a good garlic harvest.
Otherwise, the scapes will turn into flowers and take much needed energy and nutrients from the garlic bulbs.
How Do You Ferment Garlic Scapes?
To ferment garlic scapes, all you really need is:
- a fermenting jar
- a weight
- fresh, tender garlic scapes
From there, you’ll give the garlic scapes time for the fermenting process to do its magic. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the result!
For this recipe (1.5L jar), you’ll need approximately 20-40 garlic scapes, depending on their size. This amounts to 6 cups of cut garlic scapes. I bought 2lbs and that was perfect after I removed unwanted pieces. If you only have one quart jars available, then you’ll use 4 cups cut garlic scapes, or approximately 15-25 garlic scapes/1.5lbs.
It is good to separate the stalks from the buds because the buds deteriorate quickly. We try to consume the buds within 2 weeks. If you are making a large amount, you can ferment them in separate jars. The stalks of the garlic scape are far more hardy and will store for a very long time.
How to choose garlic scapes for fermenting
You can ferment any garlic scapes, but younger, tender flowers will yield the best results. These will be soft enough to eat. However the thicker stems can be used for multiple uses, including in casseroles, relishes, salsas, stir fry, etc.
The fully fermented garlic scape brine is also great to use for a daily tablespoon of probiotics. It has a mild fermented taste, not overly “pickly,” that makes it easy to add to other things without ruining the flavor.
You can ferment your garlic scapes with other herbs and spices, but I personally prefer to ferment them plain since I’m making enough to last approximately a year. While using them, I like the ability to add whatever herbs/spices the dish I’m working on calls for.
Where can I find garlic scapes?
If you’re lucky enough to have your own garden where you grow garlic, you’ll be able to harvest the perfect garlic scapes.
Otherwise, you might have a difficult time finding them. Many farmer’s markets do not carry garlic scapes because there are so many people who still don’t know about them or their many uses. They need to be used up quickly, so farmers markets generally don’t want to do the whole “buy it and see if anyone wants it” dance.
If you do not grow your own garlic and can’t just harvest garlic scapes, you may be able to find garlic scapes:
- from a local farmer/CSA
- online at Azure Standard
- request special order from your local farmer’s market or grocer (minimum order may apply)
Fermented Garlic Scapes Recipe
- 2 lbs garlic scapes
- 3 cups water
- 15 grams salt
- Cut the garlic scape in approximately 1 inch pieces.
- Cut the garlic scape bulbs separately from the rest of the garlic scape. Put into separate containers.
- Fill your fermenting jar with the straight garlic scape pieces first, then add the bulbs.
- Mix your brine. You will be using a 2% brine which is 5g of salt for every 1 cup of water. A 1/5L jar will use approximately 3 cups water and 15g salt. If you find you need more brine, make some more using the same ratio.
- Place a weight on top of your garlic scapes to keep them submerged under the brine.
- Close your fermenting jar and allow to ferment for 2 weeks.
- Move to the fridge!
Isn’t it awesome how easy it is to preserve foods we might otherwise throw away? I buy garlic scapes and ferment them right away, and something that would normally only last a couple weeks is suddenly good for a year or more. We find so many uses for these fermented garlic scapes!