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Chive Facts, Selection, and Storage


About Chives:

Chives are an herb with a mild onion flavor. Chives grow in clumps like grass, sending up graceful, hollow, thin leaves up to 12 inches. Unlike regular onions, no large bulb forms underground. Thus, it is the leaves that are the source of the onion flavor.

Botanical Name:

Allium schoenoprasum, from the Greek meaning reed-like leek

Common and Other Names:

chives, chive, civa, cepa, schnittlauch, cebolleta, ciboulette, erba cipollina

Chives Availability:

Luckily most large grocery stores now stock fresh chives, along with other fresh herbs, in the produce department year-round. Chives are also available freeze-dried in the spice section.

Chives Selection:

Choose fresh, uniform-sized, evenly green leaves with no signs of wilting, yellowing or drying.

Chive Forms:

Chives are available fresh, frozen, and freeze-dried. Dried chives have significantly less flavor than fresh chives. Also known as Chinese chives, garlic chives (Allium tuberosum), can be used and stored in the same manner as chives. They are distinguishable from chives by their flat, broader leaves and fragrant white flowers, otherwise, they look very similar in appearance.

Chive Storage:

Store fresh chives in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to a week. Do not wash until ready to use them, as excessive moisture will promote decay.

Miscellaneous Chive Information:

Chive flowers are also edible, and make a strikingly colorful garnish for any dish. However, be aware that the flavor of chives becomes more harsh after flowering. To avoid flowering, simply keep snipping the leaves back. In a pinch, chopped scallion greens can be used as a substitute for chives, but the onion flavor will be more pronounced.

In-depth Chives Information:

Chives Cooking Information. Learn about how to cook with chives.

Sample Chive Recipes:

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