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What are Chives?

chives herb


The chive is an herb related to onion and garlic with a long thin green stem subtle and mild in flavor, and most commonly used in light dishes or as a garnish.

What do chives taste like?

Delicate and mild onion flavor and subtle grassy aroma. 

Where do chives come from?

Chives are a popular herb throughout the world as a member of the allium family native to Asia, Europe, and North America. The name chive or allium schoenoprasum is derived from the Greek for ‘reed-like leek’. 

Chive Uses

Chives are a savory garnish for creamy sauces, soups, salads, sandwich fillings, vinaigrettes, and egg-based dishes.

They are used best when fresh and crisp as their flavor and texture do not stand up well to cooking. Add them towards the end of cooking or afterward as a garnish to retain their flavor. Avoid chopping chives and instead, snip them with scissors to retain the most flavor.

Chives are a key ingredient in French classical cooking within the ‘fines herbes’ as well as Swedish and European cuisine. The blades are often also used to bundle small bunches of vegetables for banquets and dress plates of cheese or dumplings.

Chive Substitutes

  • Spring onion: stronger in flavor, finely chop the green top of the spring onion as a substitute for chives.
  • Chinese chive (or Wild garlic): similar in appearance Chinese chive have a flavor closer to garlic than onion. Therefore they are a suggested alternative in dishes that already contain garlic and won’t alter the flavor of the dish.
  • Young leek: leeks are much harsher than the mild chive but can be used as a replacement if finely chopped and used sparingly.

Chive Compliments and Pairings

The mild onion flavor of chives pairs well with delicate savory ingredients including egg, cheese, salad greens, onion, vegetables, fish, potatoes, poultry, mushroom, sour cream, asparagus, lemon, chervil, parsley, and tarragon. 

Chives Expiration and Storage 

  • Fresh: wrap in a damp kitchen cloth and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Chives will begin to lose their firmness as they age.
  • Dried: use delicately to garnish and store in an airtight container away from direct light for 2-3 years.

Fun Facts About Chives

  • Chives are the smallest member of the onion family. 
  • The purple blossoms which flower from the stem of the chive are also edible although mostly used as a decorative garnish.
  • The sprouting of chives marks the beginning of spring for gardeners.

Chive Recipes:

  • Krauterquark
  • Egg mayonnaise and chive sandwich 
  • Cheese and chive French omelet 
  • Vichyssoise 
  • Potato salad
  • Cheddar and chive scone
  • Skyr
  • Smoked haddock with chive sauce

Chef Max

Michelin trained professional chef with a passion for recipe writing and all things food. I have worked for over five years at top restaurants across the UK and have gained an ability to create any recipe you desire, from comfort food recipes to fine dining recipes. My experience in food writing includes a placement at Delicious Magazine which involved feature writing, recipe testing, article research, and content creation.

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