Chives are the bright green, thin, hollow leaves of
the Allium Schoenoprasum
, a flowering plant in the onion
family. Commonly used as an herb
garnish, chives carry a mild, aromatic onion
flavor that doesn't overpower foods. Chives are also included in "fines
," a traditional mixture of herbs essential to French
The ancient Chinese used chives as long as 3,000 years ago, and since
then, much legend has surrounded the small, grass-like plant. The
Romans believed chives could relieve pain from a sunburn or sore throat,
and Romanian gypsies used chives in fortune telling. It was also
believed that hanging bunches of dried chives around the home would
ward off disease and evil.
The most common variety, regular
chives, are considered to be European
chives. Another variety, called
chives, have broader, flat leaves and a noticeable
flavor. In Chinese cuisine, these are commonly used in long cuts
and tossed into stir-fry
and other cooked dishes.
Chives can be found near other fresh herbs in produce section of most
supermarkets year-round. Look for uniformly sized leaves that are
evenly green in color. Avoid dry or wilting chives that show signs of
yellowing. Chives are also available freeze-dried in the spice aisle,
but they don't carry much flavor in this form.
Place fresh chives in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Don't wash or cut them until ready to use.
If you have an abundance of chives growing in your garden, you can freeze the extras.
Wash and dry completely, then chop and place in an airtight container
or freezer bag for up to 12 months.
Heat lessens the flavor of chives–add them to cooked dishes at the last moment.
• Sprinkle chopped chives over tomato soup, chili or vichyssoise
• Add to coleslaw
or potato, tuna and egg salads.
• Toss with buttered noodles or rice.
• Mix into sour cream
or cream cheese dips.
• Add to melted butter
and drizzle over squash, carrots
• Chopped scallions can be used in place of chives, but the onion flavor will be more pronounced.
• 1 tablespoon fresh chives = 1 teaspoon dried.