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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chive-tastic! The plant that keeps on giving

Chives aren't just for the baked potato.  Not only are they a delicious and versatile herb, they are easy to grow, divide and transplant and can add lush greens and beautiful colors to your garden.

Chives provide a fun and attractive accent to garden beds

garlic chives yield pretty white flowers
A perennial that dies back to the ground in winter, chives are still easy to grow in pots inside in a sunny window, and come spring and summer they flourish in any kind of soil and with little water.  They are also easy to divide and transplant - making them a cheap and easy way to add accents to beds!  Check out our previous post, "Chive Talkin'," where Arlene explains how to split and move the plants around your garden.

And chives aren't just for the meat and potato crowd either.  They can lend great flavor in place of onions and garlic in stir fries, are delicious in dips, egg salad, soups and omelets, and can be frozen at harvest time and used straight out of the freezer for sprinkling into cooked foods!

Society garlic adds touches of purple to your garden, and its rich garlic flavor and aroma adds extra depth to any recipe

Leigh Abernathy at gardenguides.com also has some great ideas: "If you're feeling arty, use the whole leaves to tie up bundles of carrots, asparagus, or sliced zucchini. You can cross them decoratively atop a dollop of sour cream in a bowl of leek and potato or cream of tomato soup. You could even use them to tie smoked salmon rolls. The bright green of the leaves is the perfect accent for the salmon or soup, and the mild onion flavor adds a little zing to vegetables (not to mention impresses any guests you might have). If you're using chives as a visual accent, just sprinkle a few over whatever you're accenting. If you're using them to add flavor, don't be stingy--give your next baked potato a chives crewcut. Really bury that orange roughy fillet under a layer.Try combining minced chives with cucumber, tomato and feta cheese, tossing the lot with olive oil and serving it with a hearty bread."

Brenda Hyde at creativehomemaking.com also has a great and easy recipe for herb salts that you can put in decorative jars - a great gift idea!

"Herbs salts are SO easy. They can be used on soups, stews, potatoes, vegetables and casseroles. Suggested herbs are basil, chives, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, savory, tarragon or thyme. 

You will need:
1 cup of noniodized salt or sea salt
1 cup fresh herbs 


Crush fresh, chopped leaves with the salt, using the base of a jar, or whirl them in a blender for several minutes. Spread the salt and herbs on a cookie sheet and dry in a 200 degree oven for about 40 to 60 minutes. Break up any lumps, and stir frequently during drying. When mixture is cool, seal in a glass jar and store away from heat and light. A jar of herb salt, tied with raffia and a gift tag makes a wonderful gift!"

Do you have any other ideas for the delicious chive?  Post a comment!

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