Chinese Chive Leaves
Chives grow in clusters, their blade-like leaves growing straight upward. The green leaves are hollow and come to a point. Chives can grow up to two feet tall in ideal conditions, and can spread out up to 12 inches around. They have a mild onion flavor that doesn’t tend to leave a long aftertaste. Chives sport globular, spiky, pinkish-purple flowers in the early summer months, which are also edible and share the same mild onion taste. Some varieties of chives have white and red flowers.
Chives are a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and sulfur. They also contain high amounts of potassium and vitamins A and C. Phytonutrients in chives are beneficial for the digestive system as well as blood circulation. They have similar properties to those of garlic.
Chives are used as both a garnish and an aromatic herb. Typically, chives are added at the end of the cooking process because they lose flavor when heated. Chives pair well with parsley, tarragon, and chervil, which together make up the well-known "fines herbes". Bundled together, the herbs are added to stocks and soups, and removed at the end of the cooking process. Fines herbes are also used fresh, chopped, mixed and added to salads. Add chopped chives to potato dishes, quiches, scrambled eggs, or a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese. Give butter a hint of flavor by adding chives and use it on baked potatoes, steaks, or use it as a rub for chicken. Preserve chives by either chopping and dry-freezing (in an airtight or vacuum-sealed bag) or adding vinegar to them for use as a salad dressing or marinade. Add chopped chives to olive or another oil to use as a dip for crusty bread. Fresh chives can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, as long as they are kept dry, for up to a week.
Chives are available year-round.