Gardening: Working with Chives
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Chives, a member of the onion family, are hardy perennial herbs which grow in clusters and present themselves in the early spring. Growing from six inches to nearly a foot in height, these herbs are cousins of the more pungent garlic, shallot and leek varieties.
The Geography and History of Chives
This delightful herb is generally found growing in North America, Siberia and Europe – the more popular variety of the herb that’s used for cooking being imported from the European Alps. Being a member of the herb family, chives tend to like sunny areas and do well in rocky soil. Documentation of the use of Chives exists from the 1500s in Europe and from the early 1800s in America.
Herb Cultivation: Garden Grown Chives
When planting chives, it’s best to cluster them in groups of about six bulbs, approximately one foot apart. This type of herb tends to spread fairly quickly, which results in the need to divide them into clumps each year in order to avoid congestion. By cropping the herb regularly – up to four times each season – the leaves will become softer and last further into the season. Once the frost hits, chives will disappear until sometime in February, as the temperatures rise a bit. Chives, as with others of the herb family, are generally low-maintenance plants, requiring only basic weeding when necessary, as well as replanting every few years.
Recognizing Chive Plants
Before being nipped during the cultivation process, you’ll recognize this herb by its globe of clustered purple flowers with �” petals, slender stalks and its smattering of purples, rose and bluish shades. The seed cup, which contains small black seeds, is concealed by the herb’s petals. Generally speaking, this herb will flower during the months of June and July.
Culinary Herbs: Cooking with Chives
Chives, as a result of its membership in the onion family, have a unique, pungent aroma and a distinctive flavor, making them wonderful complements to a variety of foods. This herb adds a great deal to salad dishes, such as potato salad, egg salad, macaroni salad and a number of salads of the green variety. Also used as a garnish or flavoring with things such as tomatoes, chives are very versatile herbs that have a
Hot foods are also dressed up through the use of chives. This particular herb is a delightful addition to sausage, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, omelets and a number of other hot dishes. It’s particularly popular with its standard partner, sour cream, and is
Whether fresh or dried, chives are handy little herbs that are familiar and well-loved by a wide audience, and are quite easy to grow. Novices will do very well in the cultivation of this herb, and the good news is that they’ll have an abundance of it to work with if the spreading of the herb in the garden area is encouraged.