Chives, not to be confused with the scallion, are most commonly used as a garnish. They are related closely to the shallot, garlic, and the leek but with a milder flavor. With a beautiful green color, they give any dish that extra something that is missing. But you may be surprised to know that they offer other added benefits besides their flavor.
Benefits of Chives
Chives can provide an excellent flower bed border. They can provide help in gardens by repelling unwanted pests like Japanese beetles. They are also a great plant to help fight fungus and mildew which can wipe out entire gardens.
They produce an attractive blossom that can be used as a garnish and are often used in ornamental bouquets. Because chives remain in storage well, they are an excellent candidate for dry-freezing and store well for anyone wishing to save large amounts.
Although they are not commonly known for their medicinal properties, chives do offer some benefits. While adding to the overall flavor of the dish, chives can add to the overall health of the consumer by giving them Vitamins A and C, Calcium and Iron. They are easily found in most markets year round and are readily available in most areas of the world.
How to Grow Chives
Chives are easily grown in most home gardens. Full sun is the best environment but if you have access to a minimum of 6 hours, that will do. Well drained soil is best, so be careful when container gardening to place them in pots with holes in the bottom.
Chives can be grown from seeds if germinated indoors or seedlings outside and will mature in the summertime. They will come back in the spring after the leaves die when the temperature drops. Under the ground the bulbs will remain and are easily divided, if need be. When harvesting, just cut what you want from the plant. The blossoms are edible, too!
Uses for Chives
Chives are a wonderful ingredient in many dishes from soups to entrees. They are very popular in and important to French and Swedish cuisine. They are also used in cheeses and have even been utilized to flavor milk by farmers.
Most people have no problem digesting chives, which is why they have been used for centuries as a mild diuretic and stimulant. They are also used for their antiseptic properties.
At the very least, dried chives make a wonderful hanging decoration in the house if grouped in bunches. If you are not a home gardener, you can certainly find them at most farmer’s markets and grocery stores to try in your dinner tonight.