Garlic scapes are a “rare” and precious ingredient in my kitchen as they are only available during a short period of time, usually around late spring or early summer. Once they are harvested, that’s it for the year. So I delight in my annual ritual of making the most out of this wonderful green by making a pesto out of it.
Although garlic scapes have only recently found their way to farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture boxes in the United States, I have known them since I was a child. My mother would make stir-fried garlic scapes, chopped into 1″ pieces, mixed with sliced pork marinated with soy sauce. It was a common dish where she’s from in China, but I didn’t know where this plant came from. I just took it for granted.
Decades later, when I started volunteering at a food coop in New York City, I found them and decided to make a stir fry of them. I faintly remembered my mother’s dish and suspected these were the same vegetable she used. Sure enough, it was! Since I no longer eat pork (it is an “avoid” for all blood types due to its high viral load and unfriendly lectins for all of us), I decided to make a different dish out of these special green, serpentine flower stems from the underground garlic bulbs–pesto.
Usually, pesto is made with basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil. In my case, I have decided to use garlic scapes, basil, Pecorino cheese, walnuts and olive oil. The resulting pesto has a rich and garlic taste but not as fiery as if you use garlic bulbs.
Since garlic scapes are not listed in Dr D’Adamo’s food value typebase, I assume they have the same value as garlic: Beneficial for all Type AB and O, Type A Secretors and Type B Non-secretors; Neutral for Type A Non-secretors and Type B Secretors. Since Parmesan is an “avoid” for all types except for Type B Secretors, I recommend using Pecorino instead. It is beneficial for all blood types. Walnuts and olive oil are beneficial for all.
The pesto will keep for a week or two when properly stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also store the pesto in an ice cube tray for use later on (add to soups, pasta sauce or stews for a richer flavor).
To serve, use the pesto as a spread for your compliant bread or crackers.
Alternately, warm it up in a pan and mix it with cooked pasta for a nice, Italian dish.