Chives are the smallest member of the onion family and have a delicate flavor. Chives is the common name of Allium schoenoprasum and these are indigenous to Asia, Europe and North America. This is the only species of Allium native to both the Old and New Worlds. Chives are grown for their scapes (which are the long, flowering stems rising from the bulb) and are used as an herb. Chives provide a milder flavor than other members of the Allium species.
Chives have been cultivated since the Middle Ages ( from the 5th through the 15th centuries) but there is written history of their usage dating back almost 5000 years. As with many spices chives has several colorful legends. It is said that Romanian Gypsies used chives in fortune telling and it was believed that dried chive bunches that were hung outside of a house would ward off evil and disease.
We of course typically prefer the flavor of fresh chives over dried (just as we do with almost all fresh herbs), but keeping some dried chives in your spice cabinet makes this a handy item in any well stocked kitchen. Chives provide an easy and colorful way to add a light onion touch to a large variety of dishes. Chives may be used as a substitute in any recipe that calls for chopped green onions and will produce a somewhat milder flavor.
Sophisticated air drying processes allow chives to retain their color, texture and freshness best. We like chives because they seamlessly blend with practically any dish and their bright green color adds to the visual presentation.
Even the smallest amount of moisture will quickly rehydrate them which allows you to add fresh garden herb flavor to your avocados, sour cream, cheese, cottage cheese, stir fries, egg or potato dishes, vinegars, salads, cream cheese, herb butters, cream and tomato sauces and soups – especially vichyssoise but also any creamy, cold, or vegetable soup. Of course they’re always great on potatoes.
Chives are work well in combination with basil, chervil, cilantro, fennel, paprika, parsley and tarragon.
Chives are a very lightweight herb and there are approximately 19 cups of chives per lb. so you should consider this when ordering.
Chives are essential to the French blend Fines Herbes.
If you need to convert your recipe from fresh chives to dried chives use – 1 tablespoon fresh equals 1 teaspoon dried. If your recipe calls for fresh chive blades instead of tablespoons or teaspoons of chopped chives, use the ratio of 10 chive blades equals approximately 1 teaspoon of freeze-dried chives.
Dried chives are a handy item to have on hand in any kitchen. Closely related to the onion, chives provide an easy and colorful way to add a light onion touch to a large variety of dishes. A staple for your spice cupboard, chives should never be cooked as this quickly dilutes their taste. A key ingredient to fines herbs use chives to flavor sour cream, cheese, stir fries, egg or potato dishes, vinegars, salads, cream cheese, herb butters, cream and tomato sauces and soups – especially vichyssoise but also any creamy, cold, or vegetable soup. Works well in combination with basil, cilantro, fennel seed, paprika, parsley and tarragon.