Chives are one of the easiest types of herbs to grow in your garden. They are a perennial herb, which means they grow back year after year. They’re also one of the earliest crops from my garden every spring, and one of the latest in the fall. But I can’t grow them year round, so I have to freeze them for winter use. Freezing chives is super easy, and a great way to preserve the flavor of freshly harvested chives.
Recently I wrote a post about how to harvest chives, but how do you preserve all those chives once you’ve harvested them? In my opinion, the easiest way to preserve chives is by freezing them.
- How To Freeze Chives
- Chive Plant Harvest: How And When To Harvest Chives
- Chive Plant Harvest
- When to Harvest Chives
- Harvesting and Storing Chives
- What to Do with All Those Chives?
- The trick to chopping chives & scallions perfectly
- What are the health benefits of chives?
How To Freeze Chives
1. Rinse the chives: After harvesting the chives, rinse them in cold water and remove any brown or yellow stems. Drain them and pat them dry.
Drying Chives Before Freezing
2. Dry the chives well: I like to use my salad spinner to remove the excess water from the chives so they’ll dry faster (optional). If they’re too wet when you freeze them, they tend to stick together.
Spin Dry Chives
3. Chop the chives: Once you get most of the water off the chives, simply chop them up as you normally would.
Chopping Chives Before Freezing
4. Flash freeze chives: Flash freezing the chives will keep them from sticking together. Spread the chives out on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
Related Post: How To Prune Chives & Deadhead The Flowers
Flash Freezing Chives
5. Storing chives: When you’re done, simply pour the chives into a freezer bag or other freezer safe container, then store them in the freezer.
Put Chives Into The Freezer
I grow two types of chives, regular chives and garlic chives, and preserve them both the same way. You can use frozen chives in recipes the same way you would use fresh chives, they taste just as delicious. It’s so great to be able to enjoy garden fresh chives all year long.
More Food Preservation Posts
- 9 Easy Ways To Preserve Fresh Garden Herbs
- How To Dry Lavender From Your Garden
- How To Freeze Herbs From The Garden
- How To Dry Herbs From Your Garden
How do you preserve chives?
There are some pretty awesome perks to Kam working for a culinary herb grower, in fact there’s three such perks illustrated in the photo above (yum, yum, yum) that he brought home this week. Sometimes he takes requests from me, depending on what’s for dinner that night and sometimes he turns up with whatever didn’t make the production cut that day (but still looks perfect to me!). It’s funny that Kam’s never, ever bought me a bunch of flowers in our relationship (yep, never), but as a wholefood cook I’m very happy to be surprised every few days with bunches of this or that for the kitchen.
I like to think of chives as one of the easiest to use ‘finishing herbs’, perfect for sprinkling over all manner of meals thanks to their delicate oniony flavour that enhances everything they’re mixed with. A plate of scrambled eggs, or a baked sweet potato is not a real meal until it’s got a handful of chopped chives on top. Having said that, these three (large) bunches Kam brought home last week is a bit much for the two of us to get through before they start to wilt off. It looks like we need to talk about how to freeze fresh chives in order to preserve this glut!
While you could turn it into a delicious compound butter or dehydrated herb, freezing is definitely my favourite method to preserve fresh chives, as it means I can use the finished product in the same way I use fresh without any loss of flavour or texture. Chives actually freezes incredibly well thankfully thanks to it’s hollow, tubular structure and while I’ve played around with freezing herbs with water, in oil, and in ice cube trays, I find they are chives are perfect for the flash freezing method. Simply chop fresh chives to desired length (you can see I like my long) and spread as a single layer on baking trays, to freeze for 1-2 hours, before moving to deep freeze in a sealed container. Foolproof right?
Using your this herb frozen is as simple as using it fresh, just spoon out your desired amount of chopped, frozen chives and smatter over all kinds of meals including savoury breakfasts, soups, stews and salads, or add to sandwiches or mix into fresh potato salad. Need more inspiration? Here’s some other recipes I’ve got my eye on to use up this frozen harvest:
- Garlic Chive Pesto by One Dog Woof
- Garlic & Chive Spread by Meatified
- Green Goddess Chive Dressing by Lori
- Fresh Chive Vinaigrette by Bon Appetit
How to Freeze Fresh Chives It’s incredibly easy to freeze fresh chives, so you can preserve the harvest whenever you have a glut of this flavourful herb. Author: Alison Murray @ Om Nom Ally | www.omnomally.com Recipe type: Preserving Ingredients
- Bunch of home-grown or bought chives
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and leave aside.
- Gently wash and pat dry fresh herbs to remove dirt or grit. Remove any withered, blackened or dried out sections and chop to desired length.
- Lay chopped herb on prepared baking tray in a single, even layer. Flash freeze by laying flat in freezer for 1-2 hours or until completely frozen.
- Transfer to sealed glass containers and keep in freezer for up to 3 months.
Notes Use frozen chives straight from freezer (no thawing required):
Sprinkle generously over soups or stews
Add 1 tbsp into scramble eggs before/after cooking
Add to sandwiches and wraps for a flavour enhancer 3.3.3077
Chive Plant Harvest: How And When To Harvest Chives
Chives are a delicious and ornamental addition to the herb garden and suffer little disease or pests. Both the mild onion-tasting leaves and the small poufs of pinkish-purple blossoms are edible and impart not only flavor but surprising bursts of color in salads or as garnish. The question is, when and how to harvest chives. Read on to find out more information regarding the harvesting and storing of chives.
Chive Plant Harvest
A member of the onion family Alliaceae, chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are cultivated for their grass-like hollow leaves, which impart a subtle onion flavor to a variety of dishes. The plant is low maintenance and easy to grow but thrives in full sun and well-draining rich soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0.
The plant grows in a grass-like tuft that can attain heights of 20 inches. Of course, if you are picking chives, the plant can be maintained at a much lower height. The edible lavender flowers blossom in the late spring from May to June.
Chives can also be grown indoors and
can be propagated either by seed or planting rooted clumps in the spring after all danger of frost has passed in your area. Older chive plants should be divided every 3-4 years in the spring.
When to Harvest Chives
There is no set chive plant harvest time. You may begin picking chives 30 days after transplanting or 60 days after sowing seed when the leaves are at least 6 inches tall.
The plant will produce more abundantly in its second year and thereafter you can continue to pick at will over the course of the summer and in mild climates through the winter.
In cooler regions, the plant dies back naturally until spring when the bright green blades can be seen poking up from the soil.
Harvesting and Storing Chives
There is no mystery as to how to harvest chives. Using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, snip the leaves from the base of the plant, to within 1-2 inches of the soil. In the first year, harvest 3-4 times. Thereafter, cut the chive back monthly.
Cut the flower stalks off at the soil line to prevent the plant from forming seed. This will encourage the plant to keep producing leaves, and you can utilize the flowers as garnish or tossed into salads.
Chives can be used both fresh and dried but they lose quite a bit of their flavor when dried. It’s best to use them fresh. If you have cut too many to use or don’t end up using the cut chives right away, you can place the ends in water and store them in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
You can also freeze chives by chopping them up and placing them in freezer bags. Again, the flavor loses something in the translation and it’s better to use them fresh.
Chives do well grown indoors, so for a fresh supply of chives, try growing them in a pot, perhaps with some other herbs for a continuous supply of fresh flavor.
More than just a garnish, chives awaken every dish they touch. (Credit: Hirsheimer & Hamilton)
More than just a garnish, chives awaken every dish they touch. Here are some of our favorite ways to use them.
Fresh goat cheese with crushed red pepper and chives…sautéed chicken livers with black pepper and chives…asparagus, sliced eggs, and chives…
Blini with trout roe, creme fraiche, and chives…cold-smoked salmon on pumpernickel with chives…tea sandwiches with chive compound butter and thinly sliced radishes…
Fresh Chive Vinaigrette(Credit: Hirsheimer & Hamilton)
Lettuce and pea soup with chives…lobster chowder with cream and chives…vichyssoise with dollops of chive-flecked whipped cream…
Egg salad with crumbled crisp bacon and chives over watercress…steamed spring potatoes bathed in celery and chive compound butter…potato salad with preserved lemons and chives… artichoke, fava bean, and pea salad, shrimp and celery salad, crab salad, chicken salad, egg salad, beet salad, string bean and feta salad, Waldorf salad–all with chives…
Asparagus with favas and chives…favas with black pepper and chive compound butter…buttered peas with chive blossoms…buttered peas with lots of chopped mint and chives…
Creamy veal and mushroom stew showered with chives…chicken poached in cream with chives… finely chopped steamed lobster on capellini with butter and chives…fillet of sole with chive compound butter…
Why Chives Are the Best Springtime Ingredient
How to Buy, Store, and Cook with Chives, In Season Now
What to Do with All Those Chives?
I love chives, but let’s face it–a little bit goes a long way. If I use more than two or three stems (or scapes) at a time, it’s a rarity. So what do we do with this fragrant, romantic herb besides snipping a few stems over baked potatoes? Let’s explore.
Toss with salads –Mark Bittman suggests using copious amounts in a chive salad, with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.
Chive pesto – make this pesto from Mariquita Farm and store it for later use to bump up flavors in pastas or frittatas. Spread it on crackers too.
Infuse oil or vinegar –chive oil can be drizzled on just about anything and chive vinegar can be used to make salad dressings or marinades.
Make chive butter – it couldn’t be easier. Soften butter on the counter, then mix it with a handful of diced chives. Roll it up in parchment paper and put it in the fridge for slathering on breads, biscuits, or baked potatoes.
Dry for future use – chives dehydrate easily and can be used throughout the year in soups and stews, eggs and other savory dishes. Just make sure to dry them slowly on low heat to keep them from turning brown.
Join a produce exchange – bring your leftovers to a local produce exchange so others can enjoy them too.
Let the bugs get them – chives are great guardians in the garden. The plants can be used as a trap crop for aphids and other pests that are drawn to their pungent odor, leaving the rest of the garden virtually pest-free. Alliums of any kind often repel certain types of bugs, so plant them next to lettuces, chard, and other veggies that are susceptible to infestations.
There are half a million recipes that use chives out there. These suggestions will get you started down that rabbit hole. If you have a favorite way to use chives, share it with us here.
Like oysters and princes, herbs are nearly always at their best when they’re fresh. But we’ve all been there: you buy a bunch of parsley from the supermarket for those two tablespoons of garnish that you need, a week goes by, and you suddenly find yourself with a whole lot of fresh parsley that’s on its way out. What do you do? The best option is to just find a recipe that uses it, of course. You might also consider blanching and freezing it in ice cube trays.
Or you might want to dry it. Drying herbs will greatly extend their shelf life by removing any moisture that bacteria could use to survive. The downside is that it also robs fresh herbs of flavor, aroma, color, and texture. But there are ways to mitigate this loss. Your best option? The microwave. Yes, really. It’s a trick I picked up from Daniel in his holiday story about spiced nuts.
Compared to other drying methods—like hanging or using a low oven—the microwave produces the most potent dried herbs with the freshest flavor and the brightest color.
What Herbs Can I Dry?
When it comes to picking which herbs to dry you’ve also got some decisions to make. In general, thick-leafed, hearty herbs that grow in hot, dry climates like rosemary, thyme, savory, marjoram, and oregano fare well with drying. This is because their aromatic compounds are naturally less volatile than their more delicate, fair-weathered counterparts. They have to be. If they weren’t, they’d lose too many volatiles through evaporation under hot and sunny conditions.
Dried hearty herbs can be used very much like their fresh counterparts for flavoring roasts or sautés, for sprinkling into soups or on your pizza, or for stewing and braising.
Delicate and moist herbs like parsley, mint, tarragon, cilantro, chervil, basil, and chives lose a great deal more of their flavor when dried. It simply flies off the herbs along with the water while you’re dehydrating them. But that’s not to say that these herbs are completely useless in dried form, especially if you use the microwave to dry them.
Delicate herbs should be used for dishes that use moist cooking methods like soups, stews, and braises. They can take on a papery texture if used where fresh herbs would be used such as for salads or for garnishing. I wouldn’t recommend it.
So what makes a microwave so much better at drying than any other method? A few factors.
Microwaves Preserve Flavor and Color
What’s different about the microwave than other methods of drying? The main thing is that microwaves specifically target water as they’re heating. Microwaves work by emitting waves of long electromagnetic radiation that cause polar molecules within your food to rapidly flip back and forth. By far the most abundant polar molecule in anything we eat is water. So really, a microwave doesn’t heat up all your food, it just heats up the water. The hot water in turn transfers energy to the rest of your food. An oven, on the other hand, heats everything evenly.
What this means is that a microwave can very efficiently case water to evaporate from your herbs—especially because they are so thin—while leaving flavorful compounds and colorful pigments mostly intact. Herbs that would end up brown or gray and flavorless by the time they’re done drying in the oven or through hanging will retain their bright green color and much of their aroma after the minute or so it takes to dry them in the microwave.
Just look at this rosemary. The batch on the left was dried in the microwave while the batch on the right is fresh.
See how much color is preserved? You can’t taste it, but there’s as much flavor as there is color in there. And because microwaved herbs are so brittle and dry (air- or oven-dried herbs tend to be more tough than brittle), they can be reduced to fine, flavorful powders that incorporate beautifully into spice blends and rubs. Try these Olive-Rosemary Spiced Cashews, for instance.
Microwaves Are FAST
Microwaves are by far the most efficient method of heat transfer in your kitchen. You can take a batch of fresh herbs from the fridge to the dry pantry in just a couple of minutes—a fraction of the time it takes for your oven to even pre-heat!
Convinced yet? Here’s how to do it.
How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave
Step 1: Spread the Herbs
Pick the leaves off the herbs and spread them on a microwave-safe plate lined with 2 layers of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.*
*Do not microwave recycled paper towels—they can contain tiny fragments of metal that can arc and cause fires.
Step 2: Cover and Microwave
Cover the herbs with a second paper towel or clean dish towel, then microwave them on high power. Most hearty herbs will take around 1 minute initially, followed by a few 20 second bursts until completely dry. Delicate herbs will take 40 seconds followed by a few 20 second bursts until completely dry. All of my timing was done with a half ounce of fresh picked herbs (about as much as can fit on a dinner plate in a single layer) in an 800-watt microwave operating at full power.
Herbs should crumble when you bend them when they’re finished. If the herbs are still pliant, continue cooking them until completely dried.
Step 3: Store or Grind
Once the herbs are dry, you can store them whole or grind them into a powder for spice rubs or spice mixes.
I use either a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder to reduce the herbs to powder. If you want it extra-fine, you can tap it through a fine mesh strainer. Whether left whole, crumbled, or in powder form, dried herbs should be stored in a tightly sealing airtight container in a cool pantry away from light. Stored this way they’ll last for several months while maintaining flavor and color.
I’ve tried the technique to great success with every commonly available herb in even the fancy supermarkets and while I’ll still stick to fresh herbs on a day to day basis, it’s a relief to know that I have a good alternative whenever I find myself in a glut.
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You’ve tried fresh chopped chives added to sour cream and served as a filling for a baked potato.
But how about chives added to sour cream to serve with borscht and tomato soup?
Fresh picked and snipped chives are a tasty garnish or flavoring in omelets, scrambled eggs, salads, and soups. Chives are also a perfect flavor partner for asparagus, butter, chicken, cream, cucumbers, fish, leeks, and seafood.
Chives are at their flavorful best when tender and green in spring. But you can keep a clump of chives in a pot on the kitchen window sill and have fresh chives to cut most of the year.
The classic herb combination—often called fines herbes—is equal parts of chopped fresh chervil, parsley, tarragon, and chives. Fines herbes are most flavorful when add to an already cooked dish just before serving. That goes for chives, too.
Chives have a light onion aroma and a spicy, onion flavor. Their crunchy texture and fresh, garden green appearance will liven up cream cheese, smoked salmon, broiled meats, root vegetables, and zucchini.
Chives are a hardy, cool-season perennial and the smallest member of the onion family. They grow in clusters of slender, round and hollow grass-like leaves similar to clumps of onions. The grass-like leaves typically reach 12 to 18 inches (30-45 cm) tall, but they will be most tender when harvested at about 6 inches (15 cm) tall. The leaves grow from tiny, barely formed white bulbs just below the soil surface.
Pink, white or purplish flowers will blossom at the tip of unharvested stems. Chives bloom in late spring and early summer. All parts of the chives plant are edible. The purple-blue blossoms of common chives were used by American Shakers in their blue-flower omelet.
Chinese chives are an important ingredient in Asian cooking. The flavor of Chinese chives is more pronounced than western chives with a sweet to sharp, garlic taste.
Yellow chives are Chinese chives that have been grown with little light. Yellow chives are tender and mild tasting.
Chinese chives and yellow chives are tasty when served with bean sprouts, beef, bok choy, fish, pork, salads, water chestnuts, and yard-long beans.
Chinese chives grow in clumps with each bulb sprouting four or five narrow flat leaves that reach 14 to 18 inches (36-45 cm) long.
The name chive comes from the Latin word for onion cepa.
Choose. Select chives that are fresh with evenly green leaves. Avoid chives that are soft or dry.
If you grow your own chives, clip the stems by one-third when they reach 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm) tall, then allow the stems to grow on. Clip again by one-third when 5 to 8 inches (13-20 cm) in height. Stop harvesting chives three weeks before the first frost date and allow the colony to expand.
Store. Chives will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days in a sealed plastic bag. Put them on a top shelf or in the warmest part of the refrigerator.
You can dry chives in a microwave or oven for winter use.
Serve. Use chives raw or dried in salads, vegetables, poultry, fish, soups, sauces, eggs, cheeses, butters, or vinegars. Chives can be added to dishes both warm and cold.
- Add chives at the very end of cooking to preserve their flavor or, better yet, do not cook them at all and add them just before serving.
- Chives add a mild onion flavor. Use them to flavor and garnish vinaigrettes, mayonnaise, salads, dips, sauces, cheeses omelets, pasta, tofu, seafood, and meat.
- Use Chinese chives to add a mild garlic flavor to stir fries, soups, and pickles.
- Chive blossoms can be eaten just when coming into bloom.
- Dried chives can be reconstituted by moistening with a salad dressing or lemon juice.
Nutrition. Chives have limited nutritional value because they are used in small amounts.
Chives fats and trivia. Chives grow wild in North America, Europe, and Australia. The plant thrives in chilly to warm and hot temperate regions. As the weather warms, chives become more oniony in flavor.
Cultivated chives are the descendent of a wild plant that originated in the mountainous regions of Central Europe. They were not cultivated in European gardens until the sixteenth century.
A variety of chives called Chinese chives or garlic chives or gau choi in Cantonese has been grown in China for more than
The botanical name of common or European chives is Allium schoenoprasum. The botanical name of Chinese chives is Allium tuberosum.
The trick to chopping chives & scallions perfectly
Chopped chives are a fresh, healthy way to give flavor to many dishes.
For faster, crisper cuts of chives (or scallions), use a rubber band to hold the herbs together. As you chop along the stems, simply move the rubber band back. The elastic will keep the chives taut and steady, making them easier to slice through and less likely to get squashed in the process.
4 PHOTOS The trick to chopping Chives See Gallery The trick to chopping chives & scallions perfectly
Gather a bunch of chives together and align them carefully with one another.
(Photo: Martha Stewart)
For the fastest, crispiest cuts, use a rocky motion to chop the chives as thinly as possible with a sharp knife since a dull knife would bruise them.
(Photo: Martha Stewart)
Kitchen shears can be used as an alternative. This method may also be used for scallions.
(Photo: Martha Stewart)
This is everything you need for the perfectly chopped chives or scallions.
(Photo: Martha Stewart)
HIDE CAPTION SHOW CAPTION of SEE ALL BACK TO SLIDE
The trick to chopping chives and scallions:
- Gather a bunch of chives together and align them carefully with one another.
- Wrap a rubber band around the bunch to hold the chives taut.
- For the fastest, crispiest cuts, use a rocky motion to chop the chives as thinly as possible with a sharp knife since a dull knife would bruise them
- As you chop, simply adjust the rubber band as necessary.
- Kitchen shears can be used as an alternative.
- This method may also be used for scallions.
More cooking hacks:
How to make avocados ripen faster
Cheese hacks every food lover needs to know
How to peel hard boiled eggs in only seconds
What are the health benefits of chives?
Vegetables are excellent sources of healthful nutrients. Chives contain a range of beneficial nutrients that may offer some health benefits, including anticancer effects.
The following sections will discuss the potential health benefits of chives in more detail.
Research has linked vegetable-rich diets with a reduced risk of many types of cancer. Some research has specifically suggested that allium vegetables, including chives, could have anticancer effects.
For example, a 2019 review summarizes research that has linked 16 different species of allium vegetables with preventing or positively influencing cancer. The authors highlighted the compounds S‐allyl mercaptocysteine, quercetin, flavonoids, and ajoene for their potential anticancer properties.
One study in 285 women found that garlic and leeks were associated with a reduced risk of developing breast cancer. The authors also suggest, however, that eating high amounts of cooked onion could increase breast cancer risk.
Also, a 2015 review of studies reports that eating allium vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer, particularly gastrointestinal cancer. This is due to their sulfur-containing compounds and antimicrobial effects. Allium vegetables and their components may have effects at various stages of cancer and could affect biological processes that modify a person’s risk.
The authors of the review explain that although allium vegetables may help prevent cancer, more research has looked into the effects of garlic and onion on cancer than those of chives. Researchers therefore need to conduct more studies before they can determine the amount a person needs to eat for this effect, and the relative effectiveness of other interventions.
Sleep and mood
Chives contain a small amount of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps maintain the structure of cellular membranes. Choline also helps with mood, memory, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), the adequate intake (AI) of choline is 550 mg per day for adult males and 425 mg per day for adult females.
Chives contain a small amount of choline: 0.16 mg per tbsp. A person would need to eat a high quantity of chives and other foods that contain choline to get the recommended AI.
Other health benefits
Research has also linked chives and other allium vegetables with the following benefits for health:
A source of vitamin K
Chives contain vitamin K, which is important for bone health and blood clotting. Other sources of vitamin K include leafy green vegetables, vegetable oils, and fruits including blueberries and figs.
A source of folate
Chives also contain folate. According to the ODS, this water-soluble B vitamin plays a role in conditions such as:
- dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease
- congenital heart defects
- cognitive function
- cardiovascular disease and stroke
- preterm birth
Chives also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids. According to some research, lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in the retina of the eye to help prevent age-related macular degeneration. This means that eating foods rich in these substances could benefit eyesight.
Some studies into allium vegetables and their organic compounds, such as allicin, suggest a positive relationship with certain health conditions.
For example, one study indicated a potentially positive relationship between garlic and health conditions such as heart disease and high blood sugar. Garlic may also have antitumor and antimicrobial effects.
However, the study was not clear about which compounds are responsible for these effects. Researchers will therefore need to perform additional studies to determine the effectiveness and safety of garlic and other allium vegetables for preventing certain health conditions.
Though no research has connected chives with inflammation, one 2015 study reported that garlic may reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is linked with various health conditions, including heart disease and several cancers.