Chives are one of earliest herbs to come up in the spring. They grow nearly anywhere, including in a pot on the kitchen windowsill. Brown-thumbed gardeners who still would like to have a small kitchen garden are able to plant chives and harvest for years afterward.
Chives contribute the taste of onions to soups, sauces and salads without the tears. Both the tubular leaves and sprightly purple flowers of the chive plant are edible. Chives are best used during early spring, before the leaves become woody.
Chives don’t dry well, so to preserve this years’ harvest, consider making chive vinegar or chive butter.
2 c. white wine vinegar
2 c. chive flowers, fully open
Gently heat wine vinegar to a simmer, remove from heat and pour into a glass container. Add chive flowers, using a wooden spoon to fully immerse them into the hot vinegar. Cover the container with plastic wrap or a non-metallic lid, and allow the flowers to steep at room temperature for several days. When the vinegar is at the desired strength, strain out the flowers and bottle in a sterile decorative glass container.
½ c. butter
2 c. chopped chives
Using food processor, blend together butter and chives. Create 1” balls of the butter using an ice cream scoop; place in freezer-safe plastic bag and freeze until firm. Use as a topper for warm slices of home-baked bread, baked potatoes or rice.
Finally, this pasta recipe comes from the book, More Great Italian Pasta by Diane Seed. It’s light and lemony, and the whole wheat pasta makes it filling as well as heart healthy.
Bignoli al Limone
2 large juicy lemons
25 blades of chives, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh parsley
5 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. whole wheat pasta (angel hair is recommended, but any pasta will do)
Grate the lemons; avoid cutting into the bitter white pith. Squeeze juice into bowl of blender or food processor. Add chives, parsley and 1 tbsp. olive oil; blend untl creamy.
Prepare pasta according to directions. Drain and stir in remaining oil. Toss with chive paste and sprinkle with grated lemon peel. Serve at once. 4 servings.