Chive Flowers Add a Nutritional Boost and Flavor
What are chive flowers? Most of us are familiar with the chive plant and the added flavor it brings to soups, salads and other recipes. The pretty puff balls of violet petals growing out from the green grassy chives are chive flowers. Their delicate aroma and pretty color add an interesting flair to food. Chives are a hardy perennial herb that grows well in most places.
Chives are in the Allium genus as are onions, leeks, shallots and scallions. The flavor is mildly like onion. To use in cooking it is recommended that you snip with scissors as opposed to cutting with a knife.
When to harvest chive flowers
Personally, I like to leave the blossoms on the plant as long as I can, but the best flavor is soon after they bloom. The pretty color is attractive in the herb garden and the bees will welcome this early blooming flower. Once I see quite a few blooms, I snip most of them into a small basket.
The chives can be harvested over and over throughout the growing season. Lightly fertilize to keep the growth going. If you want to freeze or dehydrate, snip the green stems, and then package for freezing or lay on dehydrator tray until dried.
When cooking, add the chives towards the end of the preparation.
Use Chive Flowers in Vinegar
The goodness of the blooms can be saved in vinegar. Using the method outlined in this post, place the blossoms in a jar, cover with vinegar, cap the jar and let it infuse! Using a light vinegar such as white wine or champagne vinegar, works best. I used Asian Rice Vinegar, because for some reason I had two bottles of it in my pantry!
The steps are simple.
Rinse the flowers if you see any insects
Place the chive flowers in a pint size mason jar.
Pour vinegar into the jar until the flowers are covered or fill the jar. – Shake gently. Shake every few days during the process.
After about a month in a dark cabinet, you can strain out the flowers and keep the vinegar for cooking or making dressings.
Use in Oil
Add chives and chive flowers to a jar. Pour in the oil. Cap and let infuse for a few weeks, in a dark cabinet. If you are going to use the oil soon, you can try infusing it with sunlight and warmth. Rancidity can result, so use caution when infusing oil.
Adding Chive Flowers Fresh to Foods and Salads
Chives are frequently used as a fresh garnish on cooked food. Often seen topping sour cream on a baked potato, the fresh or dried chives can do so much more! You can enjoy the chive flowers, fresh, in salads and soups, right from the garden! Just rinse and dry on a paper towel. Add to the dish and enjoy. Here’s a yummy cracker that you can make using chives for flavor.
Making chive butter is a delicious way to change things up a little. Whip up the butter and add snips of fresh or dried chives or chive flowers.
Health Benefits of Chives
Why are chives good for us? Both the chive and the chive flowers add nutritional support to our bodies. Some evidence has been reported that chives will combat Salmonella and other bacteria. Yes chives act to rid the body of bacteria, and other icks like yeast and fungi. That’s pretty amazing! Just a tablespoon of chives added to your soup or salad can give a significant amount of calcium, potassium, beta carotene, vitamin K and folic acid.
Chives in the Garden
Companion planting of chives and Strawberries was a surprise to me. I never would have guessed that growing chives near the strawberries would convince the squirrels to leave my strawberries alone! But it did work and now I have strawberry off shoots growing in my chive pots.
Chives will also keep bugs away from tomatoes, carrots and rose bushes.
Would you like more information on other herbs commonly found in our herb gardens? Lavender is a favorite of many people and has many benefits for our health, too. Sage is good herb for digestion and adds antioxidants to your diet. Combine sage with rosemary, parsley and mints for a strong tea that fights inflammation.
What herbs are you growing in your garden this year?
The following articles were helpful resources in the writing of this post: