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They are the long and twisty flower stem of a garlic plant. Garlic "flowers" appear at the tip and these eventually turn into tiny seed bulblets. Many gardeners remove the scapes so that the plant's energy goes into the production of the fat garlic bulb that is growing below the ground rather than into the production of seed. The scapes taste like mild garlic. Here in New England, we plant garlic in the fall. The plants are up and vigorous right now, but they won't make scapes until June, about a month before the garlic is ready to harvest, at the end of July.
PS: They are also the most scrumptious vegetable around sautéed simply in a bit of oil and butter.
I just noticed that my garlic (DC area) has scapes!
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
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