For the best (mild) homemade garlic salt, harvest your scapes and break out the dehydrator!

As an advanced Master Gardener with the University of Idaho, I have grown certified garlic for many years. Garlic is a protected crop in Idaho. Therefore, you must plant only certified bulbs in Idaho. (Friends don’t let friends plant Elephant Garlic they score at the corner grocery store.)

I’m a fan of hardneck garlic. With it, you get a flower shoot that reveals itself about a month or so before you would harvest the bulbs. The flower shoot is called a “scape.” You’ll know it’s time to harvest/cut the scape when it serpentines back around itself. You could cut and compost the scapes. But, why would you? You can use scapes just as you would the garlic bulb. Additionally, by trimming the scape from your garlic plant, energy is redirected to growing a larger bulb, underground.

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So, the process is super easy. Harvest your scapes just above the first leaf. Make certain to thoroughly wash your harvest. I let mine air dry for several hours. Why? Just in case I want to freeze a few of them for flavoring soups and stews in the future. Drying the scapes will ensure a better quality frozen product.

To begin, cut the scapes about an inch or two in length. Set aside the scape flower. You’ll want to freeze and use them later for flavoring soups and stews. Process the chopped scapes until they are a coarse mince. Be careful not to go too big in the processing. You could get a scape mush—and that will be more difficult to work with once they are dehydrated.

After they are minced, spread them onto your dehydrator trays. Don’t have a dehydrator? Check with your local library. Many let you borrow them, just like you would a book. Make certain to thoroughly wash and air out the trays, before you return the dehydrator.

I dehydrate my scapes at 135°. It usually takes about 6-8 hours. Don’t sweat it if you go longer, more often than not, I just let the dehydrator run overnight. Word of caution though…if you want your entire home to smell like an Italian restaurant, dehydrate in the house. Otherwise, the back patio or garage might be a better choice.

Let the scapes cool. Next, you’ll want to run the dried scapes through your food processor and add salt-to-taste. Regular table or kosher salt can be used. I used to process my dried herbs in a coffee grinder. But, always found it left bits that were a little too big. I recently discovered the kid’s Magic Bullet smoothie maker hiding out in the bottom drawer of the kitchen. It worked like a charm.

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Bottle, insert a desiccant pack—that’s an oxygen inhibitor, like what you find in prescription drug bottles. I buy mine, in bulk, on Amazon. Date your mixture and presto! You’ll have Garlic (scape) Salt to last all year! Use it on meat, veggies and eggs, hard-boiled eggs—for sure. It’s great on fish, salads or any food that might be improved by a hint of garlic and a little salt. And really…what isn’t improved with a little garlic and salt?

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