Welcome to the first post in a series of short articles about cooking with herbs. Today we will focus on cooking with chives. The chive plant which is part of the lily family and cousins to garlic, shallots and onions.
Chives are one of the easiest herbs to grow. They show up very early in the garden and can be used all season long. Chives are easily grown from seed but should also be readily available at any nursery. They grow just about anywhere as long as they get a few hours of sun and some water. They are easy to divide and share with family and friends. Chives sometimes self seed giving you more plants to love. Both the leaves and flowers are edible
Harvest chives by snipping with scissors at the base leaving one to two inches of the plant above the ground.
The best way to keep your chives is to freeze them. Dried chive leaves turn color and lose their flavor however the blossoms will retain their shape and can be used to decorate wreaths or other projects. After you cut and wash them, dry the chives thoroughly, place in zip plastic bags and then into the freezer. If you have a sunny window, you can also dig some up and grow them there over the winter.
Cooking with Chives
Chives have a delicate onion flavor. Typically the leaves are chopped up very fine for flavoring dishes. They are great to add to egg dishes like omelets and quiche. Chives also work well with potatoes. You can add them to your mashed potatoes or home fries, and of course, they are a well-known topping for baked potatoes. Try them in your salads or, soups, or treat chives as a topping for your next pot of chili. One thing to remember is- and this is true for most herbs- try to add your chives at the very end, or after you are done cooking. This will help retain the most flavor from the plant. Below are a couple of easy recipes that I make on a regular basis with chives. What do you make with your chive bounty?
- 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh chive leaves
- Use a pair of kitchen scissors or any scissors just make sure they are clean and snip the chives. Add to the butter and mix together well. Place in a small bowl like a ramekin and refrigerate until needed.