Chives grow in clusters, their blade-like leaves growing straight upward. The green leaves are hollow, and come to a point. Chives can grow up to two feet tall in ideal conditions, and can spread out up to 12 inches around. They have a mild onion flavor, that doesn’t tend to leave a long aftertaste. Chives sport globular spiky, pinkish-purple flowers in the early summer months, which are also edible and share the same mild onion taste. Some varieties of Chives have white and red flowers.

Blossoms have a slight onion flavor, offering the same great flavor as the stems and leaves.

Used as both a garnish and as an aromatic herb. Typically, Chives are added at the end of the cooking process because they lose flavor when heated. Chives pair well with parsley, tarragon, and chervil, which together make up the well-known French “fines herbes”. Bundled together, the herbs are added to stocks and soups, and removed at the end of the cooking process. Fines herbes are also used fresh, chopped and mixed and added to salads. Add chopped Chives to potato dishes, quiches, scrambled eggs, or a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese. Give butter a hint of flavor by adding Chives and use it on baked potatoes, steaks or use it as a rub for chicken. Preserve Chives by either chopping and dry-freezing (in an airtight or vacuum sealed bag) or add to vinegar, for use as a salad dressing or marinade. Add chopped Chives to olive or another oil to use as a dip for crusty bread. Fresh Chives can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, as long as they are kept dry, for up to a week

Garlic chives

This variety has larger flat stems versus the hollow thin spherical stems of other chive varieties. They grow in large clumps and can reach 50 cm tall when fully mature, but the spears themselves are harvested in the early spring when plant is a young sprout. Later into summer or fall when the blossoms fully open, their spherical white blossoms measure 5cm across and are composed of many tiny star-shaped flowers in a rounded umbel. Though the entire plant has an overall onion and garlic odor, the blossoms have a sweet violet aroma. On the palate they have a richer garlicky flavor than common chives, but retain a fresh grassy vegetal quality.

Although slightly resembling flat leaf parsley in appearance, cilantro can be distinguished by its unmistakable aroma and flavor.

Garlic chives can be used in both raw and cooked applications. Traditionally Garlic chives are a classic element of pad Thai and many other Asian dishes. They can be used in stir-fry, tempura, stuffed into dumplings, and used in egg dishes. Garlic chives can also be minced and used to finish meat, poultry, or seafood dishes and used to flavor soups, marinades, vinegar, and dipping sauces. Garlic chives pair well with fresh herbs, soft cheeses, mushrooms, noodles, meats, and chilies. Garlic chives will keep for a few days when stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.