Pickled Garlic Scapes Recipe

This dill-infused pickle is a delicious way to preserve the spring garlic scape bounty.

A pint jar of pickled garlic scapes sitting on a table.

Serious Eats / Marisa McClellan

Why It Works

  • Separating the straight portions of the garlic scapes from the curly tops allows them to fit easily in the canning jar.
  • A classic mix of black peppercorns and dill seed makes these a good, garlicky stand-in for dilly beans.

For a large portion of my life, I had no idea that garlic scapes existed—like so many of the vegetables that are now a part of my regular pickling routine. My parents were regular users of garlic, but the fact that hard-neck garlic plants issued green curly growth in early spring was entirely unknown to us back then.

It wasn't until I joined a CSA in my mid-twenties that garlic scapes found their way to my plate. I started by chopping them up and using them in place of garlic cloves in sautéed greens. Soon, I was turned on to the idea of turning them into a very pungent, vividly green pesto (it's a delicious way to handle them, and I make a point of whizzing scapes into pesto for the freezer every spring).

A farmers market crate overflowing with bunches of garlic scapes.

Serious Eats / Marisa McClellan

A couple years ago, I finally took the plunge and spiraled a handful of scapes into a jar, added a few spices and vinegar and found that they made the most delightful pickle. In its finished form, it ends up tasting like a wonderfully garlicky dilly bean. If you like the combination of garlic and a snappy pickle, you'll be quite pleased with this one.

Before You Get Started

You probably won't encounter garlic scapes in your local grocery store. They tend to be a farmers' market or CSA-only item. If you struggle to get some, make sure to ask at a local market; it could be that a farmer will bring some in for you.

Overhead shot showing an opened jar of pickled garlic scapes.

Serious Eats / Marisa McClellan

Garlic scapes are naturally curly. Because of this, they can be kind of hard to tame. I like to trim the straight sections into lengths that will fit into the jars. I either cut the curly sections into small pieces or I twirl them into the jars so they press again the inside wall.

May 2012

After additional testing, this recipe has been updated to correct the yield and increase the amounts of vinegar, water, and pickling salt.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 168 hrs
Serves: 16 servings
Makes: 2 pints

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (220g) trimmed garlic scapes (from 2 to 3 bunches), cut into 2-inch lengths

  • 1 teaspoon (3g) dill seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (280ml) apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons (12g) pickling salt

Directions

  1. Prepare a small boiling water bath and two pint jars. Divide the dill seeds and black peppercorns between jars, then pack trimmed scapes into jars.

  2. In a small pot, combine vinegar, pickling salt, and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (280ml) water and bring to a boil over high heat. Slowly pour hot brine over the garlic scapes, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top of each jar. Once jars are full, tap jars lightly to dislodge any air bubbles. Check headspace again and add more brine if necessary.

  3. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Let pickled scapes cure for at least a week before eating. Pickled scapes will last for several weeks in refrigerator after initial seal is broken.

Special Equipment

Mason jar, small canning pot

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
7 Calories
0g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 7
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 243mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 8mg 41%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 51mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)