Some gardeners argue that “scaping” which means cutting off the the tall swirling flower stalk (called a scape) of hard-neck garlic varieties will encourage a bigger garlic bulb, by refocusing the plant’s energy from flower to root. Others cannot be bothered, or believe that the plant should stay intact until harvested and cured.
But we almost always cut the scapes this time of year, simply because we love to eat them! The tender garlicky stalks are great in stir fries, or lightly steamed and grilled. Toss them with a bit of ginger and soy sauce, or a simple splash of olive oil or butter and fresh herbs.
PS. If you didn’t grow your own garlic this year, you can also find garlic scapes at farmers’ markets through early July.
PPS. If you are harvesting your own scapes, cut or snap them off, just above the topmost leaf. After scaping, the garlic bulbs should be ready to harvest in two to four weeks.