Newest Review: ... with carrots and so far my carrots have not succumbed to carrot fly. Chives will happily grow up to about 60cms. Once the Chives... more
Burnt Romans and happy bees
Member Name: anwar7
Date: 07/11/07, updated on 07/11/07 (150 review reads)
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I like to use fresh herbs when I cook and chives are one I wouldnít be without. Chives are easy to grow, taste delicious and look attractive in the garden too.
A bit about chives.
Allium Schoenoprasum to give Chives its Latin name, have been cultivated for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese are documented as using chives from 300B.C. Marco Polo is said to have brought Chives to Europe from China.
There is evidence to show that the Romans believed that eating chives would help ease the pain of sunburn and sore throats.
Bunches of dried Chives hung around the home are reported to ward off evil spirits and disease.
Chives are part of the onion family and are the only species to grow in Europe, Asia and North America.
Growing Chives is very easy. The best time to sow the seeds is in March. Simply sow in some compost and place the pots in a warm spot and keep well watered. The seedlings should emerge within about 10 days and they will be ready to plant outside about 1 month later. Chives should ideally be planted outside from about April. The seedlings should be planted in well dug soil leaving about 10 cm between each plant. Chives do prefer a sunny position but will do well in partial shade too.
Chives will be ready to harvest from early summer until the autumn depending on the weather.
Chives are not prone to disease although being part of the onion family they can suffer from onion fly. It is best not to plant chives close to any onions for this reason.
Once established, Chives will spread quickly and can start to take over your garden if you let them! Chives have bulbous roots like onions and it is easy to separate the bulbs so stop them getting to large. This can be done in March or in October.
Chives are evergreen perennials and can grow to about 35 cm if you donít cut them back. They have hollow, grass like leaves and produce a lovely purple flower. The flower is very useful for attracting bees thus helping to pollinate other plants growing nearby.
When you want to harvest the Chives simply cut the leaves with a pair of scissors. I always leave at least 5 cm of leaf. The leaves will grow back quickly during the summer and will be ready to harvest again within weeks.
If you donít harvest the leaves a flower will form and the leaves will become thick and not idea to use. As I love the flower, I like to leave some of my Chive plants to flower and cut others so getting the best of both worlds!
The leaves should be cut back in the winter to about 3 cm. This helps to promote new growth in the spring.
It is possible to eat the entire herb including the bulb and flower. The bulb is very similar to an onion although the taste is much milder. However I really canít see the point of this, as it is the leaves that contain the subtle flavour. The flower of the Chive can be used in salads, although I have never tried it. To use the flower simply separate the petals and sprinkle on to your salad.
Chives have a lovely subtle flavour. They are best eaten raw as cooking destroys the flavour. They are best used fresh but can be frozen for use in the winter months. To freeze cut the chives into sections and place in ice cube trays. Fill each cube up with water and freeze. I have used this method and it gives god results. When you want to use the Chives you simply defrost and then use as you would fresh Chives.
Chives go well with lots of dishes and they are easy to use. I like chives sprinkled on top of scrambled eggs. Just cut a few leaves into small sections and sprinkle on top. I find using Chives helps me cut down on the amount of salt I use.
Chives go really well with cheese. I like to mix a small handful of fresh Chives into plain cottage cheese. Chives are also good when sprinkled on top of cheese on toast.
A summer potato salad just wouldnít be the same without the addition of Chives. Chives not only add to the taste but also give colour. I like to make my own mayonnaise too if Iím really trying to impress!
Chives go well with baked potato and butter, again they ad colour as well as flavour.
Chives are a rich source of vitamin A and C and also contain iron. They do have some medicinal benefits too, although these are minimal. They can help lower blood pressure and improve circulation but would have to be eaten on a regular basis to have any real effect.
A word of warning here, Chives can be poisonous to dogs if they are eaten in large quantities so be careful especially if you have a puppy around!
Chinese Chives are a slightly different herb and produce a lovely white flower. The taste is very similar although they have more of a hint of garlic than onion.
Chives are easy and fun to grow and will add flavour and interest to your cooking.
Summary: A useful herb
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