Botanical name:Allium schoenoprasum ▪ Family name: Alliaceae
The fact that Chives have been around since at least 300 BC in ancient China is a strong testimonial to this herb’s usefulness.
Chives are the smallest species of the onion family, Culinary uses for chives involve shredding its leaves (straws) for use as condiment for fish, potatoes and soups. It also has insect-repelling properties which can be used in gardens to control pests.
Major producers: Poland, Central America, Northern America, France
Chives are grown for their leaves, which are used for culinary purposes as a flavoring herb, and provide a somewhat milder flavour than those of its neighbouring Allium species.
Chives are blessed with a mild onion flavour and, like chervil, can replace parsley in many dishes. Because of their mildness, chives should be added to cooked dishes at the last moment, or their flavour will be lost. They have less sulphur than onions, so are more digestible than their ‘windy’ cousins.
Chives have a wide variety of culinary uses, such as in traditional dishes in France and Sweden, among others. It is also an ingredient of the gräddfil sauce served with the traditional herring dish served at Swedish midsummer celebrations. The flowers may also be used to garnish dishes. In Poland chives are served with quark cheese.
Chives have been cultivated in Europe since the Middle Ages, although signs of its usage date back to 5000 years ago. They were sometimes referred to as "rush leeks".
The Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat. They believed that eating chives would increase blood pressure and acted as a diuretic.
Romanian Gypsies have used chives in fortune-telling. It was believed that bunches of dried chives hung around a house would ward off disease and evil.
Storage: Chives will keep for many years when stored in an airtight container.
It is available by 50g, 100g and 250g.