Chives belong to the same plant family as onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks. They have long, hollow, grass-like stalks that get up to about 24 inches long. They generally grow in clumps. When the stalks are eaten they have a light but oniony flavor. The Latin name for chives is Allium Schoenoprasum. When left to flower, they develop a light lavender, pom-pom-like flower.
There is also a variety called garlic chives (also called Chinese chives) that are very similar in appearance to the common chive, but have a white flower and a light garlicky flavor.
In history, chives were first documented to have been used in ancient China in about 3000 B.C. but were not commonly used and cultivated in Europe until the 1500s.
Chives are cultivated and also grow wild across much of the Northern Hemisphere. They are grown both as an herb and as an ornamental.
The Health benefits of chives are not yet fully known, but they may fight several types of cancer and have mild anti-inflammatory properties.
Chives can be used in cooking in many ways. They can be eaten fresh, put in stews, soups or corn muffins. We have put together several recipes where chives are the main or featured ingredient:
- Chive Salad Dressing
- Chive Dolmades
- Chive Chicken Soup
- Noodles and Chives
- Cream Cheese, Chive, and Bacon Dip
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