One extra bonus of growing hardneck garlic is the tender, tasty garlic scape that appears on the plant in the spring, about a month before harvest time. Therefore, hardneck garlic actually produces two-harvests a year, a soft green scape and a full round head of cloves. The scape is a culinary delight and it’s removal from the plant guarantees a plump garlic bulb in the fall. The stalk grows upward, then curves down and around to form a circle. This is the time to harvest garlic scapes by cutting near the leaves where the stalk emerges.

Garlic scapes have a mild garlic flavor and can be used as a garnish, in soups, meats and salads when simply chopped raw. The scapes keep well in the refrigerator for up to a month. Just put them into a paper bag and fold the top down to keep them from drying out. Wash the scapes before using.

Scapes can also be frozen or dehydrated for later use. Simply wash them and pat dry with a paper towel and cut off 1/2 inch from the cut end. They can be used in stir fry, sautéed like green beans, steamed with lemon as a side dish or chopped into any salsa or dip.