A few weeks ago I sat at Wheat Penny, a restaurant in Dayton, Ohio, with some of my cousins and my aunt and uncle and had some of the most delicious pizzas ever. The Spring Has Sprung pizza was our favorite! It was a white pizza with asparagus, shrimp and chives. When I read the ingredients on the menu I thought, Huh, chives, big deal. Boy was I wrong. The chives made that pizza. It was so out of this world scrumptious, and the chives were the perfect herby, oniony flavor to go with the shrimp, asparagus, and delicious hints of garlic.
I have an over abundance of chives in my garden. Years ago when we first moved here I bought one small chive plant along with the other herbs I use in cooking, basil, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary. My chives have multiplied and outlasted them all.
Chives are extremely hardy here in the Pacific Northwest. They have done a bit of their own spreading, but I have also divided them over the years to help them multiply. For a while I did it to line the ends of my raised beds with them because I love the pretty purple blossoms,
but also because they help keep a lot of pests away from my other plants. And boy do they attract bees.
But as the years have passed I’ve divided and spread them for reasons other than how beneficial they can be in my raised beds or how tasty they are. Unfortunately I started to notice how unfriendly people often are to the outside of our front and side fence line of plants and flowers. Not only do they often leave their garbage as they are walking by, but time and again they have ripped out something pretty and/or expensive I’ve planted like my sunflowers and black swan poppies. I got tired of paying for lovely plants only to have someone vandalize them, but I still wanted that part of our yard to look nice.
So I started dividing and planting things I already had that are hardy and pretty like sedums, day lilies, oregano and rudbeckia, and of course, chives. Over the years my chives have become more of a survivor in the garden than an edible, delicious culinary herb.
After my visit to Wheat Penny, I’m re-inspired to use more chives in the kitchen again. I love them chopped onto scrambled eggs and frittatas, in salad dressings and mixed into goat cheese before I stuff the herbed cheese into my squash blossoms. I remembered a recipe I saw years ago on David Leite’s food blog, Leite’s Culinaria for Chive Blossom Vinegar. Well there are bowls full of blossoms in my yard, and I love vinegars for cooking and pickling, so I made my own version.
It’s easy, delicious and pretty. Now I can hardly wait for it to infuse. Until then I can imagine the possibilities for using it in salad dressings, in a tart chivy potato salad, or maybe just a dash in Greg’s sautéed breakfast potatoes, mmm. What are your favorite uses for chives?
- Enough large open chive blossoms to fill one pint canning jar
- Two cups distilled white vinegar or white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
- Pick enough chive blossoms to fill a pint jar.
- You can wash them to get rid of any tiny bugs or dirt, but usually I just ruffle through them with my fingers to make sure they are clean.
- Place them in your canning jar so the jar is full. You don't have to stuff them in with gusto, just fill the jar.
- Meanwhile heat the vinegar on the stove till just before boiling. Pour warmed vinegar over chive blossoms.
- Place top on jar and place jar in a cool dark part of your kitchen for about two weeks.
- After two weeks, strain vinegar out to remove the chive blossoms; discard blossoms.
- Use chive blossom vinegar in salad dressings, with sautéed potatoes and in potato salad or however you choose. Enjoy!