Dill-icious Garlic Scape Relish

A spoon containing green garlic scape relish.

Garlic Scape Relish is made with fresh early summer garden grown garlic scapes. With just the right amount of vinegar and a touch of dill, it’s perfect on hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, and mixed into macaroni salad. 

Looking for a new flavour for your next backyard barbecue? Forget ketchup and mustard, Garlic Scape Relish is where it’s at! Packed with dill-icious garlic flavour, it’s like garlic dill pickles on steroids. It is outstanding on Smoked Bison Burgers or as a flavour boost for macaroni and potato salads

Garlic scapes growing in a garden.

Garden Fresh Garlic

Growing your own garlic is one of life’s simple pleasures. Nothing compares to slicing into amazing fresh garlic right out of the ground. The flavour and freshness is far superior to any garlic you can buy from a grocery store. There are two kinds of garlic (soft and hard necked) but only one provides two harvests during the growing season. 

Chopped garlic scapes in a food processor bowl.

Hard necked garlic is planted in the fall and begins growing as soon as the snow clears in the Spring. The bulbs split open and green shoots burst forth. As the garlic grows taller, Spring turns to Summer and a thick tubular shoot, or scape appears from between the green leaves.

What Are Garlic Scapes?

The scape is a stalk that holds the flowering body of the garlic. It grows straight at first but eventually begins to coil. While it grows, it uses up a fair amount of plant energy in order to produce the stalk, flower, then seeds.

A spoon containing green garlic scape relish.

In order for the bulb to reach it’s full potential in size and flavour, the scape must be cut off. This allows the plant energy to shift towards the bulb (the second and final harvest). As a rule, garlic scapes should be harvested once the centre stalk is fully formed and begins to spiral. To harvest, cut the stalk as far down as you can without damaging the leaves. 

What Do Garlic Scapes Taste Like?

Luckily, the solid scape stalk is tender and quite delicious when cooked. The flavour is a combination of onions, scallions and garlic, though the flavour is milder and ‘greener’ than just garlic on it’s own. There are so many ways to enjoy this garlicky treat!

A jar of Garlic Scape Relish next to a loaded hot dog.

How to Find and Store Garlic Scapes

If you aren’t able to grow your own garlic, scapes can sometimes be difficult to come by because they are around for such a short time. Some places you may find garlic scapes are: 

  • Asian grocery stores in the produce section.
  • Farmer’s Markets. 
  • Direct from a farmer. Last year I bought 9 lbs of garlic scapes just so I could make several batches of this Garlic Scape Relish.

Once you find them, scapes are quite hardy and will keep for a few weeks in the fridge crisper or many months in the freezer. 

A jar of Garlic Scape Relish next to a loaded hot dog.

Great Ways to Eat Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are very versatile and can be used in the same way as garlic and scallions (green onions). To use, trim off the bulb and wash the stem. Chop it up and it’s ready to be steamed, grilled, roasted, puréed, dried, sautéed, and pickled. Though they can be eaten raw, though the larger stalks may become quite tough. Some great uses for Garlic Scapes are: 

  • in a stir fry
  • chopped in an omelette
  • in soups and stews
  • added to hummus
  • mixed with butter to make a compound butter
  • roasted and eaten as a vegetable
  • used in a salad dressing
  • in a pesto then used on baked potatoes, macaroni or potato salad, or in a pasta dish.
  • pickled whole or as a Garlic Scape Relish
A jar of Garlic Scape Relish next to a loaded hot dog.

How To Make Garlic Scape Relish

This recipe is a bit of work. If you have a food processor, I highly recommend using it to cut the onions and scapes. To simplify things, I’ve split the entire process into three distinct steps. 

  1. Prepping the Garlic Scape Relish
  2. Getting canning equipment ready
  3. Hot Water Processing

To prep the Garlic Scape Relish, blitz the onions and scapes in a food processor in batches until they are your preferred relish size. Place them in a large pot or Dutch oven, then add the remainder of ingredients omitting gochugaru if you don’t want spicy relish.

A jar of Garlic Scape Relish next to a loaded hot dog.

Next, get the canning equipment ready. Fill a hot water canner with hot water, add the rack, and set it to boil. Wash and inspect the jars, metal rings, and lids. Place the jars upside down in a tray of water placed in a 225 F oven for at least 10 minutes. Heat the metal rings and lids in a pot of simmering water. 

Once the equipment is ready, slowly simmer the relish for at least ten minutes or until it has softened slightly. Add extra vinegar if it begins to look dry. 

A jar of Garlic Scape Relish next to a loaded hot dog.

Filling and Processing Garlic Scape Relish

To process, take two hot jars out of the oven, fill them with hot relish and top up with a bit of vinegar (if needed), leaving about 1 cm of head space. Lightly tap the jars on the counter top to remove any air bubbles and add more vinegar, if needed.

Wipe the jar rim, top with a lid and fasten the ring just slightly but not too tightly. Place the jar in the rack of the hot water canner. Repeat with remaining relish. Once there are enough jars to fill the canner, process for 15 minutes or more at a rolling boil, depending on your elevation. Here in Calgary, Alberta I processed these 250 ml jars for 25 minutes.

Remove jars from the boiling water and allow to cool. Repeat the process with any remaining jars of relish. Allow to cool and listen for the characteristic lid ‘pop’ which means the jars have sealed. Do not disturb for 12 hours. 

How to Store Garlic Scape Relish

Store sealed jars of scape relish in a cool, dark basement for up to a year. Once opened, store for up to two months in a refrigerator. Do not consume if the relish has any visible mold, ‘off’ smell, or effervescence. When in doubt, throw it out. 

Pinterest image of green relish on a spoon over another photo of a hot dog with relish next to a jar of relish.
Yield: 10 half pint jars

Dill-icious Garlic Scape Relish

A jar of Garlic Scape Relish next to a loaded hot dog.

Garlic Scape Relish is made with fresh early summer garden grown garlic scapes. With just the right amount of vinegar and a touch of dill, it's perfect on hotdogs, burgers, sandwiches, and mixed into macaroni salad.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs fresh garlic scapes
  • 2 cups roughly chopped onions; about 3 medium
  • 3 tsp fresh turmeric
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp dill weed
  • 1 cup fresh dill weed; chopped
  • 4 cups white vinegar 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp gochugaru (if using) 

Instructions

Prepping the Garlic Scape Relish

  1. Process onions in food processor until they become your desired size.
  2. Wash and slightly chop scapes, then process in batches until they reach a similar size as the onions.
  3. Add onions and scapes to a Dutch oven, add remainder of ingredients omitting gochugaru if you don't want spicy relish.

Getting Canning Equipment Ready

  1. Fill a large canner with hot water and bring to a boil.
  2. Wash and sterilize jars by placing them upside down in a tray of water and leaving them in a 225 F oven for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Wash and place jar lids and rings in a large saucepan and cover with water.

Hot Water Processing

  1. When the lids, jars, and utensils are all ready to go, then simmer the pot of scapes for at least ten minutes. There should be liquid so if it looks dry, feel free to add more vinegar as needed.
  2. Once you are ready to jar the relish, take two hot jars out of the oven, fill them and top up with a bit of vinegar. Leave about 1 cm of headspace.
  3. Tap the jars on the counter top to remove any air bubbles and add more vinegar if needed. Quickly top with a lid and fasten the ring just slightly, not too tightly.
  4. Place each filled jar in the rack of the canner, then lower it into the boiling water when there's no more room for jars.
  5. You may need to remove water to prevent over flowing as the water boils or you may need to add boiling water to ensure the jars are covered with at least an inch of water at all times. It's a good idea to keep a kettle of boiling water on while hot water canning.
  6. Process for 15 minutes or more, depending on your elevation. Here in Calgary, Alberta I processed these 250 ml jars for 25 minutes at a rolling boil.
  7. Remove from boiling water and allow to cool. Do not disturb for 12 hours.

Notes

*each jar contains 1/2 pint 250 ml relish and is 408 calories in total.

You will probably need to do two hot water cycles for this recipe. That's fine, just keep the jars, lids and relish hot until it's time to fill the second batch of jars. This is also a great time to add gochugaru to the other half of the recipe if you like.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 408Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1415mgCarbohydrates: 95gFiber: 3gSugar: 63gProtein: 7g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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32 comments

  1. Susie

    Half cup salt seems like a lot. But no one commented on that, so it must be ok

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Reduce it by half if you like Susie.

  2. Terri

    I really need to grow garlic so I can have garlic scapes! Wow – what a creative recipe for garlic scapes – I’d love this relish on EVERYTHING!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thanks Terri! We do love it a lot. I’ve been eating it on everything.

  3. [email protected]

    Hooray for scapes! Wonderful condiment idea, with loads of versatility and a big, bold flavour (which is a rare combination). Dill is a great idea – it manages to stand up to the powerful taste of the garlic scapes while still complimenting them. Awesome stuff Bernice.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Sean It is definitely bold in flavour!

  4. Veronika

    This is a great idea! I can imagine that it has a beautiful aroma! Definitely to try!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It sure does…best if everyone has some at the same meal!

  5. Tammy

    Ooh wow what a fabulous idea for relish! This looks and sounds so wonderful…perfect for the garden herbs!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I LOVE my herb garden in the summer. So many delicious options.

  6. Marisa F. Stewart

    I’ve already pinned the recipe and now I’m on the hunt for scapes. I can’t wait to taste the relish. With the dill it will be a great addition to our burgers and franks. I know hubby and our boys will love this.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Local garlic farms? That’s where I get mine. I can’t grow enough to preserve, only enough to eat fresh.

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