Garlic scapes are the flower stalks and flower buds of hardnect garlic. If they are not trimmed off before they flower two things happen: 1) the plants' energy goes to producing flowers, inhibiting the growth size of the garlic heads underground; and, 2) the pollinators enjoy the pollen of the garlic flowers and tiny garlic plants come up everywhere in your flower beds the next year.
How do I know? because more than half of the scapes in the red colander are from flower beds.
They must be picked young if you want to use them. They dry up and become tough/stringy and horrible to use in pesto.
Here's what I did with ours. I used scissors to cut them into pieces that would easily fit into the food processor and turned it on. Then, I added enough olive oil to make a slurry. After that came lemon juice, salt and 2 cups of walnuts.
The result was a creamy spread or aoili. Yesterday we took some to Marcia Owen's house where she served an authentic Lebanese lunch feast. The garlic scape concoction was perfect with goat cheese balls (Labneh in olive oil) and whole wheat pocket pita from Bagatelle Bakery in Wichita Kansas. Marcia buys them someplace in Tulsa.
This is where waste not want not meets good eats!