Chive

Chive (Photo credit: Bitter Jeweler)

CHIVES are delicately flavored members of the onion family. You use only the leaves of the chive plant, cutting to the ground to harvest them. The bulb will regrow more leaves.Plant in a location with full to partial sun. They can be planted by seed, or you can purchase a small clump, as I did. Once you plant chives you’re certain to have them forever. Every 2-3 years you can divide the clump to make more chives. If you allow the purple blossoms to stay, they’re also likely to re-seed themselves. If you cut the blossoms, be sure to make the CHIVE BLOSSOM VINEGAR with the recipe shown below.

Once established, chives are quite hardy and require little care. While they like rich soil, they’ll grow in most any soil. The can tolerate both wet and dry conditions. Really, you just plant them and forget them, until you notice they’re overtaking an area. Divide and either re-plant or discard the extras.

Although you can buy dried chives, they’re not very tasty. You can bring some chive plants indoors and plant them in a pot in a sunny location for fresh chives in the winter, or simply freeze some while they’re abundant. You’ll be glad when winter comes and you’re craving creamy mashed potatoes with fresh chives! It only takes a few minutes to harvest, wash and cut some up, put them in a zippered storage bag and plop them in the freezer.

How beautiful is this chive blossom vinegar?


CHIVE BLOSSOM VINEGAR

1-1/2 cups white vinegar
2-1/2 cups chive blossoms (snipped just below the flower)
Glass jar or bottle with glass or plastic lid, such as a vinaigrette bottle

Put chive blossoms in a colander. Lower the colander into a bowl of cold water to which you’ve added a pinch of salt (this chases out any creepy-crawly things that were hiding in the blossoms). Let soak for 5 minutes, lift colander, rinse well, bang colander in sink to remove excess water, then dry blossoms on a towel or paper towel.

Put vinegar in saucepan over low heat to warm. DO NOT BOIL.

Stuff chive blossoms in jar(s), and cover with vinegar. DO NOT USE A METAL LID, which can be corroded by the vinegar.

By the next day you’ll find the vinegar has turned a delightful shade of lilac! Let it steep for 2 weeks – if you can wait that long – and strain out the blossoms; the longer they stay in, the more colorful the vinegar becomes and the stronger the onion flavor. After straining out the blossoms, pour the vinegar into another clean jar or bottle.

Chive blossom vinegar makes a beautiful gift… if you can bear to part with it.

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