Make the most of culinary herbs and spices.

All About Chives

by Sandra Bowens

Photo courtesy of the International Herb Association.

As the smallest member of the onion family, chives go where the others are unwelcome. No onion or garlic breath from this lovely cousin. No tearful chopping or tedious peeling, just snip away at the deep green grass-like fronds. Yet you still get a mild onion flavor that goes so well with eggs, potatoes and fish.


Chives do not produce a bulb like the other onion plants in the lily family. The leaves are hollow, growing in clumps up to two feet tall and make an attractive border to your herb garden. They grow well in pots, too. Propagation is best accomplished by division, simply split the roots and replant. Outdoors, chives prefer a cool climate such as Scandinavia, Germany and England where they are grown in abundance.


California entered into the commercial production arena by perfecting the methods for quick-freezing and freeze-drying. The freeze-dried products are almost equal to that of using chives fresh and should be substituted in equal amounts when called for in a recipe.


Freeze chives at home by snipping into small lengths and freezing in a single layer. After they are frozen, chives may be repacked into small containers. No need to thaw before using.


Chinese or garlic chives have a mild garlic flavor. The leaves are a bit larger and flatter, the flowers white. Regular chive flowers are a pretty pink. They are tasty and look terrific in a salad.


Beware, however, all of those flowers pack a powerful punch. Pull those puffs apart before you eat them or you may be sorry!



Thousand Island Dressing


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup bottled chili sauce

2 Tablespoons finely chopped green olives

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 Tablespoon snipped chives

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 Tablespoons milk


Place all ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake well.


Makes about 1 cup



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