How Long Can You Store Garlic Scapes?

If the thought of zesty garlic doesn't excite you, then it might be time to swap the cloves for the much milder garlic scapes. Bundles of these thin, green stalks have been popping up at farmer's markets in recent years and while they are stunning to look at and even more delightful to dine on, it's important to know how to store scapes to get the most out of them.

Coiling as they develop, scapes grow from the bulb of hardneck garlic varieties and are often removed before they flower, so that flavor can be redirected into the bulb, notes Cook's Illustrated. This is why scapes have a more delicate flavor that's slightly herbaceous. Used as an aromatic or as the star of a dish, they're actually quite fibrous when eaten raw, but soften and sweeten as they cook. Interestingly, Fruit Stand shares that scapes can be used interchangeably in recipes that call for garlic, chives, or scallions and fare well when roasted, grilled, or sautéed.

At a glance, scapes might look like green garlic or ramps, however, they couldn't be more different. Although they have similar harvest seasons, Chatelaine explains that green garlic is simply young garlic, whereas ramps are their own plant entirely. Likewise, green garlic tends to taste even milder, while ramps have a flavor profile more closely related to leeks and onion. Scapes also tend to keep longer — but, how long exactly?

Keep them refrigerated for up to three weeks

If you plan to use garlic scapes relatively quickly, then they can be kept on the countertop in a glass of water for a few days. However, if you don't plan on cooking an abundance of garlic scape-focused recipes as soon as you bring home the tangle from the market, here's what you can do.

According to Serious Eats, garlic scapes will last exceptionally well — up to three weeks — when stored in a slightly open plastic bag in the refrigerator. In order to maximize their shelf life, Bon Appétit recommends first trimming the stringy end of the scape, and then cutting crosswise into pieces or long stalks.

Freezing is another option if you want to reap the benefits of scape season well into the winter. Given their sturdiness, Spiceography explains that scapes keep well for months in the freezer, especially when they're washed, chopped, and blanched before being frozen on a cookie sheet to avoid clumping together. Of course, for a more creative way to extend shelf life, you can even experiment with fermenting or pickling.