Chives are smallest members of the onion family and one of the most popular seasoning herbs. Sometimes called ‘“The Little Brother of the Onion,” that is just what they are. Easily grown inside or out, they are most effective to repel aphids in a rose garden. Three thousand years before Christ the Chinese were growing chives and since then they quickly spread to most every country. A fairly new variety is the“garlic chive” which has a flat leaf as compared to the tubular leaf of the onion chive.
Either variety of chive used sparingly makes a nice addition to soups or salads. A common usage is in sour cream for baked potatoes or added to cottage cheese. Thought to stimulate the appetite, they are useful for illness. Their high iron and sulphur content makes chives beneficial to high blood pressure and the kidneys. The lovely pinkish purple blossom of the onion chive is a welcome addition to your green salad or can be used to make vinegars with a pale pink tinge.
Speaking of eating flowers, I have had so many ask if it is really safe to eat all these different flowers. Most edible flowers are actually the blossoms from fresh herbs and since herbs are grown organically, yes, the flowers are safe, too. I don’t recommend going to the local florist and eating their flowers, but what are sold by Farmer’s Daughter Herbs are field grown in California with nothing but lady bugs and good laborers to keep the pests away. Most all herbs bloom (tarragon being an exception) and these blooms are delightful as plate garnish or sprinkled into salads or as trim on top of the soup. There are many ways to use flowers in your presentations. Some of the herbs which produce the best blossoms are nasturtiums, marigolds, English Daisy, thyme, sage, Arugula, Borage, chives, lavender, and on and on. The chrysanthimum is particularly nice as the leaves are also edible and can be mixed with salad greens. Try using just the petals pulled from the flower center and sprinkle through out the salad. Try being different!
Thanks to all of you for a great year and Happy Holidays!
Dorothy L Gifford
Farmer's Daughter Herbs