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Garlic scape pesto is a great way to use up a bunch of garlic scapes and also provide yourself with a steady supply of seasoning for the winter!
If you're not familiar with garlic scapes, they are the curly tendrils that grow up from the middle of your garlic plant early in the summer season. They should be cut off near their base in order to encourage your garlic head (under the ground) to get bigger. They have a taste that is a bit more mild than regular garlic, and vary from nice and soft to thicker and stiffer depending on the variety and when you harvest them.
For more info on growing garlic, including when to harvest scapes, check out our article on how to grow a year's worth of garlic!
Garlic scapes can be used just like you might use regular garlic in a stir fry or other dinner dish, but because we harvest so many at once, we love making them into a pesto that we can freeze and use later!
Why Make Pesto with Garlic Scapes?
Garlic Scape Pesto is a great solution because it combines the garlicky kick of scapes with a little bit of umami from parmesan cheese and the nutty, creaminess of sunflower seeds plus olive oil. When added to a soup, sauce, stew, or stir fry this pesto is a great flavor booster and also adds a bit of texture.
While I have other recipes that I make that combine scapes with basil or arugula, I also like to make pesto with JUST scapes so that I can use it more as a flavoring and less as a sauce. I probably wouldn't use this on its own as a pasta topping, but I would use it to make garlic bread or to add garlic flavor to any of the above dishes.
How to Make Garlic Scape Pesto
20 garlic scapes, with the top (just under the little bulb) cut off
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Juice of one Lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Cut garlic scapes into 1 inch pieces and put them in a food processor. Blend until the scapes are well chopped up and starting to form a bit of a paste.
Add sunflower seeds, parmesan cheese, salt, and lemon. Blend until well-combined, scraping the sides as needed. Then, with the food processor running, pour the olive oil through the top spout until the pesto reaches desired consistency. You may not need the full 1/2 of a cup.
The best method I know for freezing pesto is to make pesto ice cubes out of it. Simply scoop your pesto into an ice cube tray (I prefer a flexible silicone ice cute tray dedicated for this purpose), cover with saran wrap or a cover that comes with your ice cube tray, and freeze for at least 24 hours.
After the cubes are frozen, pop them out of the ice cube tray and stick them in a labeled freezer bag. This way, you can grab one or two cubes at a time or whatever quantity is needed for your recipe!