Chives are the milder cousins of onions, garlic, shallots and leeks.
Found in the wild in North America and Europe, chives can be identified by their slender, tubular, pointed, bright-green leaves. Both chive leaves and flowers are edible. The flowers, which bloom in the spring, range widely in color depending on their variety.
When you shop for chives, look for good color and erect leaves. Our Pacific Northwest climate suits the cultivation of chives perfectly.
Another species of chive is called garlic chive. Instead of round, tubular leaves, garlic chives have flat, dark-green leaves. Their flowers are white and bloom in mid-summer. The leaves can be used like regular chives and their flowers are also very tasty. Once the flower has bloomed, the plant sets large, round green seeds. The seeds can be used in cooking, salads, or just eaten raw. The seed has a decidedly garlic flavor and a satisfying crunch.
Chives impart a delicate flavor to soups, omelets, fish and mashed or baked potatoes. They can be chopped finely and mixed with butter, sour cream or cream cheese and used as a dip or spread on naan or pita.
Chives can be easily be preserved. Freezing chives will stretch out their goodness over the winter.
One way to freeze chives is to chop them finely, mix with water and freeze in ice cube trays. Stored in freezer bags, the cubes will be ready to pop into recipes later.
Another way to preserve chives is to seal the chopped leaves in a freezer bag.
Drying chives is not advised because they become brittle and fairly tasteless.
Roberta Doster is a WSU Clark County Extension Master Food Preserver. For additional recipes, food p http://ext100.wsu.edu/clark/?p=8163 reservation and food safety information visit. Have questions? Call MFP Helpline at 564-397-5366.
Roasted Potatoes with Chive Pesto
Source: Chef Scotty. Yield: 2 servings
2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh chives
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Toss potatoes with salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in a 425-degree oven for 25-30 minutes until tender and golden-brown.
For pesto, add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.
Transfer potatoes to a serving platter and drizzle with pesto.