Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto

Garlic scapes in garden

Gardeners that plant in the fall wait with excitement for the spring thaw and what is starting to grow. And the good things they can cook, like garlic scape pesto!

Garlic is one of those crops, planted in the fall to be harvested in August. But before the bulb harvest the plant produces a flower bud, called a scape. If you let it bloom it would be similar to a chive flower. Most don’t let it mature however as cutting it forces the energy back into the bulb to produce a larger garlic clove. These are the hard necked garlic types.

Cut the scape as long as possible and trim it later while you are cutting it to use. Now you have this long curly stem with the curly preflower (probably not a word) top. You will cut off the flower and the other end until the stem is tender, much like asparagus.

The scape has a good garlic taste and can be used in the same way garlic is used it you don’t wish to make pesto with it.

Today I’m making pesto out of them and freeze to enjoy in the winter on a pasta dish. You can use pesto a lot of ways but that’s our favourite.

Hubby with tub of garlic scapes

Ill share the recipe here and you can see how easy it is to make and store.

First thing to do is gather your ingredients:

Garlic scape pesto ingredients
Pesto ingredients

We have alot of scapes! You can see in the picture the curly part that needs to be trimmed off. If you don’t grow your own garlic you can possibly find the scapes at your local farmers market. Other ingredients you will need are salt, pine nuts, olive oil, fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

Scapes in food processor
Scapes in food processor cut into little 1″ or so chunks.
Basil and salt in food processor
Basil and sea salt added.
Processed pesto
Starting to blend
Mini food processor
Small food processor

I don’t have a large food processor, so this takes small batches at a time. Next time I might use the blender.

 Finished Pesto in container
Finished pesto

This is the texture we like, but you can make it smoother or rougher according to your taste. The blander would possibly make it smoother, or a better food processor. With the recipe you can also alter the amount to scapes and basil, depending on your garlic preference. More scapes more garlicy, less scapes more basil flavour.

And just to keep it real, the first pictures look all tidy and neat, but this is a real picture of the kitchen. Like a pesto bomb went off!

Messy Kitchen picture
Kitchen reality
Cleaned up Kitchen
Ready for the compost site

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto

About 12 fresh garlic scapes cut into 1″ lengths

1 Cup fresh basil

1 Cup olive oil, add to taste

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup pine nuts (these can be exchanged for almonds)

Place scapes, basil and salt into food processor or blender. Slowly add olive oil while pulsing mixture. Add cheese and pine nuts, continue to blend, adding olive oil. Blend until you reach the texture you want while slowly adding the olive oil. You may not use the entire 1 cup or you may use more. It is according to your preference. Pine Nuts have an oily texture so they also give a smooth product.

Pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. It also freezes well, around 6-8 months. I put it in smaller containers so you unthaw just what you need.

I hope you enjoyed this post. And the pesto!

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