Allium is the scientific name for the garlic/onion/leek/chive family, and is derived from the classical Latin alium meaning “garlic.” “Scapes” are the flower stalks found on certain members of the allium family. Garlic scapes, which only appear on the finest hard neck garlic varieties, curl upward as they grow, ultimately straighten, and then grow little seed-like bulbs. A young scape makes one or two loops before straightening out, and then develops seeds. By snipping off the scapes before the seeds develop, more energy goes into making a bigger garlic bulb.
When the garlic scapes are still in full curl, they are tender and delicious. They have a taste that is milder than the garlic cloves, and have a broad spectrum of uses from soup to salads to garnishes. The garlic scape is an allium delicacy that is highly prized and traditionally used in Southern, Eastern European, and Korean cuisine because of its subtle garlic flavor and tender-crisp texture.