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2.4 Chives.

Latin name:
Chives: Allium schoenoprasum
Chinese chives: Allium tuberosum


2.4.1 Growing chives


From: Linda Kovacs (kovacsla.vnet.ibm.com)
I started with a small pot from a discount store, planted it in moderately poor soil that got about 1/2 day sun. It went crazy! Grew big, made flowers and seeds, the next year the seeds came up and (repeat previous line over and over and over ... ). I now have about 6 square feet of chives. I don't even water them.
After they blossom and the flowers dry, you can collect the drying flowers and shake out the seeds to plant elsewhere. The blossom stems should be removed to prevent their being harvested by accident, as they are rather woody and tough. They'll dry out anyway, and should be removed to keep the plant looking nice.
A funny thing happened with that first plant. It was next to a rose bush infested with aphids. When I planted the chives, the aphids disappeared. Then I got a fruit tree that had problems with aphids. I scattered some chive seeds, and the aphids disappeared again.
Chives are so easy to grow that I don't think I'll ever be without them again. To get a start, find some chive seeds or a pot of chives.
To grow them indoors, put on a sunny windowsill and water when the soil gets a bit dry.


From Jennifer A. Cabbage <fxjac.camelot.acf-lab.alaska.edu>:
Chives are a very hardy perennial of the same genus as onions, leeks and garlic. It makes a great container plant and does well indoors if given adequate light. A 5-inch pot of chives should be divided and repotted every spring if the clump has spread enough.
Chives like rich, moist well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 8. It likes full sun but will tolerate partial shade.
The seeds germinate easily in 10 to 12 days, but the plants grow and spread slowly at first. It is quicker to obtain a division of a clump from someone. Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep, in small sparse groups spaced about 12 inches apart all around to create clumps quicker, or plant seeds singly. Clumps grown outdoors should be divided every 3 or 4 years. Chives make a good companion plant for beets but should not be planted with beans, carrots, or tomatoes.


2.4.2 Harvesting chives


From: Linda Kovacs (kovacsla.vnet.ibm.com)
Chives are best harvested with a scissors or sharp knife. Cut the blade as close to the ground as possible without injuring other blades. It's best to cut individual blades unless you are shearing the whole plant. This leaves the newly sprouted blades to grow bigger for your next harvest.
If you're harvesting during or after blooming time, watch out for those blossom stems. They're tough and woody.
Rinse the blades, gather together in bunches, and cut across with a sharp knife into the size you need.
When chives are in flower, you can snip off the flowers and use them before they start to fade.


From: unknown
I cut my chives back to the ground about three times each summer. I've found that this forces them to send up a whole bunch of replacement shoots. I usually wait to pick a few of the flowers to include in arrangements.


> My chives are flowering. Should I pinch off the flowers so they will not start to die for the winter?

From: karyn.siegel-maier.kotl.mhv.net
Chives, if well established in the garden, tend to flower in early spring, and sometimes again in mid-summer. The chive blossoms make an excellent vinegar, and can be used in baking if pulled apart. I don't cut my chives back, but let the seed fall to the ground resulting in more chives the following year.


From Jennifer A. Cabbage <fxjac.camelot.acf-lab.alaska.edu>:
Cut off stems to about 2 inches tall, to encourage new growth. Stalks that flower tend to be rather tough and bitter, so it's better to clip off flower heads as they form, although they are a pleasant lavender color.


2.4.3 Using / preserving chives


From: Linda Kovacs (kovacsla.vnet.ibm.com)
Chives dry nicely, but lose much of their flavor in the process. If you want chives in winter, grow a pot on the windowsill.
Chives can be used in any recipe that calls for chopped green onions. This gives a slightly different, somewhat milder flavor.
Chopped chives make a wonderful addition to salads. I use them instead of onions when the sweet onions aren't available, because the regular onions give me terrible heartburn.
Chive flowers are also wonderful in salads. They are both pretty and delicious, with a peppery-oniony flavor.
Chopped chives are great with potatoes. Baked potatoes with sour cream and chives is a classic, but you don't need the sour cream. Just baked potatoes with chives is tasty. Perhaps add a squirt of lemon juice! Also try chopped chives on top of mashed potatoes, or mixed in.
Chopped chives make a wonderful garnish for almost any non-sweet dish, and add a mild onion flavor as well.


From: mrooney.mrooney.pn.com (Michael Rooney)
It is also possible to make chive pesto.


From Jennifer A. Cabbage <fxjac.camelot.acf-lab.alaska.edu>:
Mix chopped chives into cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, or butter. They are great with almost every kind of potato dish, and in salads. Chives is used in vichyssoise, asparagus and cauliflower soups. They can be used in egg dishes such as deviled eggs, omelets, and scrambled eggs. The small bulbs of chives can be used in sausage or pickled like small onions.
Chives are difficult to store dry due to a high moisture retention, but they can be chopped and frozen to be used as if fresh.

Potato Casserole

8 large potatoes, peeled cut and cooked
8 oz sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 c chives

Blend all together, and if your family will let you, refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 for 34-40 min or until warmed throughout.
The stem/leaves of chives have high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as some iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin and niacin.


From jrogow.ridgecrest.ca.us (Judith Rogow):

Chive Vinegar

When your chives (esp. garlic chives, yummmmmy) are in bloom take four or five of the prettiest stalks w/heads and put them in a clear jar, cover w/white vinegar, cover, and stand in a dark cupboard for about a week. You will have pinkish vinegar w/a heavenly flavour. DO, however, watch out that the stalks do not have ants!



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