Thursday, August 16, 2012

Using, Harvesting, And Storing Fresh Chives

chives in bloom

I love having chives in our garden, and they go great with almost every meal we eat around here, but I don't always have time to head outside with scissors to grab a garnish before we eat. We're way more likely to actually use them if I keep some in the fridge. This storage method helps them stay fresh for much longer:

Cut a big bunch of chives, enough for a week. To harvest, just grab a handful a few inches above the base of the plant and, using large scissors, mow it down. The plant will start filling back in with healthy new growth pretty much right away. You can harvest like this all summer long. 


chives after harvesting
I have 3 chive plants, and alternately harvest each of them completely, like in the photo.
Before using them, make sure everything in the bunch is fresh and there aren't any flower stems. The flower stems are edible, but not as tender as the leaves- we give them to the rabbits. 

Greens will keep fresh if they stay humid and cool. To this end, I take a dishcloth or cloth napkin and wet it, then wring it out. The cloth should be wet but not dripping. To store chives for later use, roll them up in the dishcloth, like making a burrito.  Store your chive burrito in the vegetable crisper.


Chives wrapped for storage
Chive Burrito

fresh chives

Whenever you want some chives, simply unwrap one end of the bundle and, using scissors or a knife, chop away whatever you need for your meal. I like to put some in a little dish every time we're having soup, so my family can add however much they want. I like tons; my kids go a little easy on it. Chives are mild enough that they're an easy, fresh, and nutritious vegetable to add to any savory dish.

using fresh chives

Don't forget about the flowers: Any fresh chive blossoms can be used as a beautiful purple garnish for soup, or tossed in salads. I used to use them whole, because it had never occurred to me to break them up, but they are kind of intense that way. 

chive flower

They are much nicer to eat if you separate the flowers into little pieces, which is easily done if you just pull them apart at the stem. 

how to use a chive flower

Then, sprinkle on as you would the chopped leaves. They are colorful and tasty!

chives in the garden
This plant needs to be harvested. The mature flowers are past their prime for edibility and going to seed. It will put its energy into tender new leaves once it's cut back.

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August 17, 2012 at 6:47 AM

Thanks for all the great tips and way to use chives!I have several plants growing in my garden!

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August 17, 2012 at 6:53 AM

Found your post from the homesteading link-up.

I'm very glad to have read this - my problem is that my chives are "out of sight, out of mind" so I rarely remember to add them to what I'm cooking. Maybe if I keep a bundle in the house I'll use them more. Great post!

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August 17, 2012 at 7:22 AM

Thank you! They're such an easy vegetable to grow, which is probably what makes them so easily forgotten ;)

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August 17, 2012 at 11:32 AM

I have a chive plant that sent up a flower and I had no clue the flowers were edible. I thought chives were like lettuce and weren't good to eat after flowering. I'm so excited, I'm going to go "mow" my chives today!

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August 17, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Great Tips! Thank you for sharing this at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

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August 18, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Loved your tip! Thank you for stopping by our Gluten Free Fridays link up http://vegetarianmamma.com/gluten-free-friday-recipe-link-up-1/
I have pinned your tip to our Gluten Free Fridays (recipes) board on Pinterest! Thanks again for making it a huge success! We had over 100 gluten free recipes/tips this week :)
Cindy

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August 18, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Great tips and I love the pics! I pinned you to my In the Garden Pinterest board and found you through Fit and Fabulous Fridays. Chives are so delicious and I am envious of your green thumb!

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August 19, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Thank you! They are so easy to grow, really. I only grow the easy stuff! ;)

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August 20, 2012 at 11:02 AM

I have chives growing in my garden and I admit, I've never put much thought into how to properly harvest them. Thanks for sharing these tips.

If you get a chance I would love for you to come link up at my Pin Party.

http://sarahdawndesigns.blogspot.com/2012/08/pintastic-monday-link-party-5.html

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August 20, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Thank you, I'll check it out!

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August 21, 2012 at 6:51 AM

What a great tip for storing chives. I didn't know the flowers could be eaten as well. Thanks for the great tips.

Stopping by from the Garden Party.

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August 22, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Thank you for this informative post!! I have a gorgeous chive plant that I always simply clip as needed, but I'll be "mowing it down" to stimulate more growth. Love the chive burrito idea!

Thanks, ~Lisa

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August 22, 2012 at 9:03 AM

i actually wasn't able to plant anything this year due to a big giant move and am so sad but i remember the days of slipping on my boyfriend's way too big shoes, scissors in hand, and traipsing out into the yard for my herbs while i cooked. i like those days. this is also a good alternative, obviously and much more convenient. haha.

today is the Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop - I was hoping, if you feel up for it, that you'd link up this fabulous post (and any future fabulous, seasonal posts) with us :) Everyone is welcome so feel free to stop by. take care! xo, kristy

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August 22, 2012 at 4:20 PM

I like that memory. I'll check out the hop!

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August 24, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Chives are so beautiful, aren't they? Your photos are really great.
Visiting via Rural Thursday Blog Hop.

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August 27, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Great post! I spent yesterday preparing, drying, and freezing herbs for the winter. i like to freeze cut up chives in olive oil. I love adding chive flowers to salads. They are a lovely and delicious touch to dishes. I will be featuring this post on my H&S Hop highlights.

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August 27, 2012 at 7:01 PM

I've never frozen herbs in olive oil, but it sounds like a great idea. I just can't stick anything else in my freezer right now!

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August 28, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Thanks for the great idea! I would use them more if I didn't have to run out to the garden. I will try this.

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August 29, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Hi Emily,
This is really great information. Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week. This weeks Link Party is opened at http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2012/08/free-bee-sweet-hat-pattern-crocheted.html
Hope to see you there.
Debi Bolocofsky
Adorned From Above
www.adornedfromabove.com

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August 31, 2012 at 7:41 AM

Just got a big chive plant from a local lady here in Iowa. Do you know if they do ok in winter? Mine are in pots... :'\

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August 31, 2012 at 7:50 AM

I think in Iowa you get more serious winters than we do here, in the Pacific Northwest. You could look up their "hardiness zone" and compare it to Iowa's. If they're in pots, you could move to pots to a more sheltered area. Mine are in the ground and have always done fine. I think if they're in the ground they're a bit less exposed to frost damage than in pots. They do totally die back in winter, but if they survive, you will get new growth every spring. Good luck!

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September 4, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Just chopped my chives off and 2 days later various shoots are already growing up like crazy again! They are on a balcony and so kind of sheltered. Maybe I will risk having them out there during winter, and see how they do!

www.munchtalk.net

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September 4, 2012 at 7:38 PM

They definitely grow faster than we can use them!

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May 17, 2013 at 6:24 AM

Thanks for the tips. I have so many chives I don't know what to do with, I'm pinning this for future reference.

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May 23, 2013 at 1:51 PM

They are so pretty when they bloom! Thanks for sharing this at my Pin Me Linky Party.

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May 25, 2013 at 7:32 AM

Great idea! Thanks so much for sharing on The Creative HomeAcre Hop!
Hope to see you again tomorrow at:
http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/05/thecreativehomeacrehom17.html

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May 26, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Hi, Just wanted to let you know you that you are a featured post at The Creative HomeAcre Blog Hop today!
http://acultivatednest.com/2013/05/the-creative-homeacre-hop/

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May 26, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Thank you for the feature!

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July 15, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Hi! Thanks for sharing this post on Natural Living Monday!

I have a chive plant that is growing like crazy! I usually trim it to make fresh salad dressings, but chives are so delicious, they can be incorporated into many dishes. I love your tip on storing them in a damp cloth for easy access. I am on my way to try that right now :)

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July 27, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Hi Mellow,
We grow Chives in our Herb Garden and I just love it when they bloom. We have had a very good harvest this year. I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope you are having a great weekend!
Miz Helen

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August 2, 2013 at 6:42 PM

Congratulations!
Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Enjoy your new Red Plate and have a wonderful weekend!
Miz Helen

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