Monday, April 16, 2012

Herb of the Week- Chives

  Chives reliably return every year in  early  spring.  I can always count on using fresh chives on Easter Sunday no matter how early Easter is.  They are another example of an early bitter herb.  With a fresh onion flavor, they are a traditional addition to baked potatoes served with sour cream.

 I love to add them to  our favorite veggie  dip recipe and they make a delicious garnish for just about any soup recipe.  I chop them and add them as I'm serving the soup.
                                  Favorite Veggie Dip
                                              Adapted from the Elegant but Easy Cookbook

Mix together:

1 pint of sour cream
2 tbs horseradish (or more, if you like the heat)
1 tbs paprika
1-2 tbs fresh chives
1 tsp salt
1 tsp tarragon (or Mexican mint)
1 clove minced garlic
black pepper

Chill and serve surrounded by veggies.

Chives look good in the garden too.  They bloom in May and the flowers, which are pink or lavender, are edible and make a nice addition to salads.  I've also used  the flowers when making dried flower arrangements.

Chives in early spring
At left is a photo of my chives taken in early spring.  They are planted in partial shade and, if you look closely,  you can see that they are surrounded by a plethora of chamomile seedlings which will grow up to produce loads of flowers for tea later in the spring. (More about chamomile later)

Garlic Chives

 Chives, like garlic, onions and garlic chives are members of the allium family and although not thought of as medicinal, are considered very nutritious.  The garlic chives, pictured above, look very much like chives, although they bloom later and sport white flowers.  (If you look closely at the picture, you'll notice the garlic chives are surrounded by weeds and if I don't get out and do some weeding soon, the little devils will go to seed and I'll have my work cut out for me all summer.)

Take-away for today - Chives are easy to grow, taste good , look good in the garden, are impervious to pests and are good for you too!!

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