Still called civet, the chive is a condiment very appreciated in cooking. Its fine, fragrant leaves add a special flavour to dishes. In addition to the leaves, the chive's flowers, which are shaped like spherical purple umbrellas, are also edible. Chives are fairly easy to grow in the garden. However, as with most crops, some care must be taken to ensure good plant growth, and to facilitate its regrowth, chives must be cut in a particular way.
Regularly remove flower buds
One of the things you should do with chives is to remove the flower buds as soon as they form. This prevents the plant from becoming exhausted from going to seed. You can still keep every other flower if you plan to produce seeds or use the buds for decoration or as a garnish on a salad.
Cutting chive sprigs as needed
To get the full flavour of chives when you use them in cooking, cut them at the last moment if possible. Cutting the chive sprigs is probably one of the most enjoyable tasks in growing chives. It should be remembered that chives aid digestion. It is therefore interesting to use it in culinary preparations. It contains minerals and is rich in vitamins A, B and C.
The first cuts are usually made in the spring, when the chive plants are about 15 cm high. The following procedure should be followed:
- Use garden scissors and cut the sprigs at the base, because if you cut them halfway up, they may harden off and the ends may turn yellow;
- Then you can wash your chives, drain them and wrap them in a clean cloth to absorb the moisture.
After these steps, your chives are ready to be chopped and used directly to decorate an omelette, salad or sauce.
Fold the chives regularly
To allow the chive stalk to regenerate, it is recommended that it be folded back completely to just a few centimetres from the ground. Always use scissors so that the new foliage is fine and abundant. In a few words, fit for eating. Furthermore, if you have several chives, it is advisable not to cut them all back at the same time. This way, you will always have some available.
Tips for storing chives
Although chives are best enjoyed when freshly cut, it can happen that you have too many chives, for example after cutting them down. The solution is to be able to store them for a few days or even several months.
To store your chives in the refrigerator, simply place them in a glass filled with fresh water. You can also wrap them in slightly dampened paper towels before putting them in a plastic bag in the vegetable bin. In the latter case, you will have to change the paper towel daily.
If you want to keep them longer, freeze your chives after washing, drying, chopping and wrapping them in small packages. You can keep them for about 6 months.