Sometimes my enthusiasm for growing herbs overrides my good sense. When I decided to grow chives, instead of purchasing small clumps of onion and garlic chives, I planted seeds. What I didn’t know was that some of the seeds had blown from their original site to various places in the herb garden where they also took up residence. I won’t even tell you how many times I’ve dug up clumps of chives to give away!
Chives are a member of the onion family, and are hardy perennials. Their flavor is reminiscent of onion and garlic but not as pungent because they contain less sulfur. They are easy to grow in full sun but will tolerate some shade. In a well-drained location, chives can grow up to two feet, and make pretty border plants. Onion chives have straw, tube-like leaves with pink flowers; garlic (sometimes called Chinese) chives have flat, ribbon-like leaves with white flowers.
To harvest chives, cut back as close to the ground as possible for more cuttings, and to keep them looking neat.
Allicin, a chemical found in chives, has been connected to helping reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and certain kinds of cancers.
Chives are best added to cooked dishes at the last minute to preserve their delicate flavor. Sprinkle the flower petals on fresh salads for a mild onion flavor and as a beautiful garnish. Both leaves and flowers are delicious in stir-fries, omelets and soups. Try adding minced chives to cottage cheese. Delicious!
Blend l/4 cup minced chives into a stick of unsalted, softened butter, margarine or substitute. If desired, add a small clove of minced garlic or a dash of garlic powder and a squeeze of lemon juice. Roll into a log and freeze. Slice off what you need. Chive butter is wonderful added to egg dishes, seafood, vegetables, grains, sauces, or tucked under the skin of poultry.