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Monday, May 30, 2022

Using Chive Blossoms

Some years we're eating quite a lot from our garden by the end of May. Not so much this year. It's been very cool and rainy for the entire month of May. Even the kale and chard have been sluggish. What I do have in abundance right now, though, are chives and chive blossoms. So, I've been brainstorming different ways to use them in meals. Here's what I've been doing with the chive blossoms:


I began with making chive blossom vinegar. Each year I make two or three kinds of flavored vinegar. Chive blossom is always one of them. I also make a green herb vinegar (usually rosemary and/or thyme). And some years I make a fruity vinegar (plum, blackberry, raspberry, or blueberry). Flavoring plain white vinegar is both inexpensive and extremely easy. And having a variety of flavored vinegars on hand throughout the year provides a head-start in making salad dressings from scratch. The above is one week old chive blossom vinegar. I'll leave the blossoms infusing in the vinegar for another three weeks before straining out the blossoms and decanting the liquid into a bottle. BTW, I use repurposed commercial pickle jars for the infusing process. One of the problems many folks have with reusing pickle jars is the vinegar odor is sometimes hard to eliminate from those jars. Well, no problem when making a flavored vinegar, right?


I've also been adding chive blossoms to salads. Monday night I made a lentil, barley, greens, and chive blossom salad. The blossoms have a fresh onion flavor when raw. 

We did burgers for dinner this weekend. I'm down to the last few whole onions, and I don't want to spend too much money on more onions until I can buy a 50-lb sack of the new crop in late summer. In place of sliced onions on our burgers, I made a 1000 Island type dressing for the buns, subbing chive blossoms for the relish I might normally use. The chive blossoms added a mild oniony flavor to the burger toppings.



I've also been cooking the chive blossoms. Cooking the blossoms mellows the oniony flavor. This is a potato and chive blossom soup. I used about 2 cups of fresh chive blossoms, cooked in almost a quart of veggie stock. I added about 1 cup of potato flakes, salt, and pepper to the soup. I simmered for about 15 minutes. At that point I removed the pan from the heat and allowed it to cool for 10 minutes. Then I pureed the soup in a pitcher blender. I estimate this soup cost about 25 cents (for the potato flakes) and made enough for 4 servings. This could also be made with leftover mashed potatoes or 1 potato diced and simmered in the stock. My stock for this soup was also a bargain. Last week, I peeled 7 large carrots to make a bucket of carrot sticks for snacking. I saved all of the peels and used them to make a stock. After simmering and then straining, I had about 1 quart of carrot stock, which I kept in the fridge until I made the soup over the weekend.

So far, these are the ways I've found to use my abundance of chive blossoms. I'll continue to seek out new uses over the coming week or two. Using what we've been given and grateful for it.

12 comments:

  1. Wow! I never have grown chives before but now I'm wondering if it is too late to start. I'll have to look this up but I think I would love that. Just that little infused flavor would make me happy.

    Alice

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alice,
      I don't think it's too late to start a chive patch. They come back every spring, cold hairy to zone 3. I'm not sure how old plants need to be for the blossoms to develop. It's been many many years since I planted this batch. I actually moved them over from our last home, 27 years ago. If you lived near me, I'd give you a division.
      Have a great day, Alice!

      Delete
  2. Now you have me wanting to make chive-infused vinegar! However, the area outside the back door in which I had well-established chives is what we re-did over the fall/winter. When the chives went to seed, I scatter seed under 2 or 3 of our fruit trees, and I can see them growing under two of them, but they're still very fine and wispy, no blooms. So might have to wait another year. Thanks for the idea, though.

    As for the garden, ours is "behind" due to weather as well. We had such cold/warm ups and downs through the spring, and even still. We were in the 100's, then had three days with highs in the 60's last week, and are back to the upper 90's this week, then cooling down to 70's next week. I think the potatoes are confused! The lettuce and spinach have long since bolted, and we're done harvesting asparagus and sugar snaps, but just now harvesting some beets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cat,
      Your temperature swings must be doing a number on your plants. We only get a few days per summer in the 90s or higher, and I know that stresses our garden plants. But, I'm glad you've now got beets. Our beets are at least a month away. But my spring turnips may be about 1-2 weeks from harvest. Something is better than nothing.
      Have a great day, Cat!

      Delete
  3. I had chives at our old house, but none here so far. My husband does not like onion flavor, so I don't add it to that many things. Chives are not first on my list of things to plant because of that, but even if you don't eat them, they are attractive plants.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      They are pretty, aren't they? But if your husband doesn't like oniony flavors, it would be hard to put planting chives at the top of the priority list. Does your husband like garlic or shallots? Shallots taste like they're in-between garlic and onion, so I wonder if those taste too oniony to him, too. Just curious.
      Have a great day, Live and Learn!

      Delete
  4. I made chive blossom vinegar a few years ago when you mentioned it in one of your old posts. Thanks for the reminder - herb infused vinegars are pricey. It adds a little finesse to meals!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's been a strange spring everywhere, from the sounds of it. We are regularly getting lettuce now, and we do have a few chives--sounds like you have more. Mostly we sprinkle them over something savory. They are much milder tasting to me than onions.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kris,
      Our spring weather, here, is probably normal. The previous couple of springs were extra nice, and we were spoiled. Now, we're dealing with normal, which is difficult for this sun-loving girl. But it does sound like you've had some abnormal high temperatures in your area, followed by some lows, too. I hope our gardens can all accommodate these variations.
      Lucky you to have lettuce regularly. Mine is just so slow this year. Enjoy all of those salads.
      Have a great day, Kris!

      Delete
  6. So unfamiliar in my neck of the woods. I don't think I've seen anyone or anyplace serve chive blossoms. Not familiar with chives too though I see it often in recipes. I usually substitute with green onions.

    Lili, I love your ingenuity. You are an inspiration. I hope you are printing your blog posts as I think many of your ideas are original.

    Have a great day!!
    Laura

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    Replies
    1. Hi Laura,
      Your substitute of green onions when chives are called for is a good one. They have a very similar flavor and the texture is just right. I also like that green onions are so easy to grow and can be added to ornamental garden spots without looking too much out of place.
      Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate the positive feedback.
      Have a great day, yourself, Laura!

      Delete
  7. Hi Ruthie,
    Sorry this is at the end of the comments. I can't seem to directly reply to your comment on Blogger today. Such a temperamental platform.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the chive blossom vinegar. You're right, those herb-infused vinegars are expensive. Plus, I like how they look on my kitchen counter. I keep the herb vinegars in nice bottles in my main prep area. The pink chive blossom vinegar is so pretty. I've had several friends ask what it is when they see the bottle. I hope your chive blossoms are still in good shape for making vinegar this season.
    Have a great day, Ruthie!

    ReplyDelete

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