Chives grow in clumps with bright green thin cylindrical stems, and they are a member of the onion family. Their delicate mild onion flavour is delicious used in salads, soft cream cheese, sauces and soups. The pompom mauve flower heads that appear in summer are ideal for garnishing food, and added to herb vinegars provides flavour and an appealing decorative touch.
Chives are harvested by cutting off individual leaves 5cm above the surface of the soil. Gather into a bunch, wash well and snip with sharp scissors into 2mm lengths to release the mild onion flavour.
- Always add chives to hot dishes just before serving as too much heat can result in loss of flavour and colour.
- Use chives whenever a mild onion flavour is required to flavour savoury dishes. Chives have an affinity with vegetables and salad ingredients and can be combined with most other herbs as a flavour enhancer.
- Chives are a favourite garnish for cream style soups such as pumpkin, potato, tomato, carrot and chowder variants. Top soup with a spoonful of cream or sour cream and sprinkle over chopped chives.
- Chives enhance egg and cheese dishes such as scrambled eggs and omelettes, add chives just before cooking is complete.
- Use chives in cheese dips and spreads also chive butter is delicious over vegetables, grilled meats or fish.
- Add a tablespoon of chopped chives to mashed potato or add to softened butter to serve with cooked vegetables, grilled meats, chicken or to top a baked jacket potato and potato salad.
- Chives add a delicate onion flavour to cream style sauces and dishes such as Veal Scallopine.
- To store a bunch of chives, immerse in cold water for use within 4-5 days. For longer keeping qualities chives can be chopped and frozen in a small container.