How to clean chives

Chives - cultivation, care, harvest & use

The botanical name from chives reads Allium schoenoprasum. Chives belong to the genus Allium (leek), which also includes garlic, onion, leek and wild garlic.

The perennial plant can reach heights of up to fifty centimeters. The rhizome drives out the hollow stems in spring and spherical flowers of a pinkish-purple color form on the stems. Depending on the variety, the flowers can be eaten.

The home of the chives is not known. In Europe it is widespread and also grows wild.

Chives types / varieties

Not only Allium schoenoprasum is available in stores, there are also other varieties to buy:

  • Wild chivesh - Wild chives especially like nutrient-rich meadows and can be harvested as early as February. The stems are rather thin and taste hot and garlic-like.
  • Allium polycross - This variety is also suitable for indoor culture and grows very quickly. It is a resistant species with dark green stems.
  • Allium species - This variety grows slowly and is harvested from September to April. Another name is winter chives, which grow to be about four feet tall.
  • Allium schoenoprasum Sterile - The strain does not set any seeds and is especially intended for dishes that contain edible flowers. The flowers are characterized by a longer delicacy.
  • Allium Staro - The chives, also known as Pötschke, have sturdy, thick tubes that taste very aromatic. This variety is particularly good for freezing.

Chives / ingredients

The following substances are contained in chives:

  • Volatile oil
  • vitamin C
  • iron
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin A
  • sodium
  • potassium
  • Calcium
  • Silica

Buy chives plants and seeds

In supermarkets you can usually find plants that have been grown up quickly. These usually don't last long and are more suitable for direct consumption.

An alternative is to order the chives. You can find a good selection of chives here on Amazon:

Chives in a pot at Amazon

Chive Seeds, at Amazon

Decorative garden plugs for herbs at Amazon

Books on culinary and aromatic herbs

Herbs in the kitchen and garden via Amazon

Chives growing in the garden

Chives used to be used as a border for the vegetable patch, because the smell keeps many pests away. If you plant it around a bed of strawberries, the strawberry mites will be driven away. Carrots, kohlrabi, dill, tomatoes, spinach and celery also benefit from chives as a pest control.

It gets a little more difficult with rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley as neighbors, since chives need a more moist soil than these herbs.

Care of the chives

Location: Chives like a partially shaded to sunny spot.

Substrate: The soil should be rich in humus and loose for lush growth. If the soil in the garden is rather poor, compost is mixed in. It should be watered regularly, at best with stale rainwater. Chives neither like waterlogging nor too dry soil.

Fertilize: If the chives grow in a humus-rich soil, it is sufficient to fertilize with a liquid fertilizer once a month. Instead of fertilizer from the trade, compost or mulch can also be worked into the soil.

Overwinter: Chives are hardy, but you should prepare the herb for the cold season. The leaves are cut back to just above the ground. The plant should be covered with fir branches or bark mulch.

Propagate the chives

sowing

The herb is a so-called cold germ. Chives do not have to be grown on the windowsill, but can be sown outdoors.

From mid-April onwards, seeds are sown in a partially shaded area that has been completely cleared of weeds beforehand. The earth should be loose and have a small amount of clay. The seeds are lightly covered with soil and the soil is moistened with an atomizer. The earth must not be wet, only damp!

After about a fortnight, the seedlings will appear, which should be protected from heavy rain. They also need protection from strong sunlight.

If you want to grow the chives indoors, you can start sowing as early as mid-February. The location for the cultivation should be unheated and rather cold.

Division of the rhizome

If you sow the seeds selectively, hardy chives are formed. These tufts should be split every two to three years in the fall. You can plant some of the plants in a pot and thus you have a winter supply in the house. If you put the pot in the garden or on the balcony for a short time during night frost, the stalks wither, but as soon as the plant gets back to room temperature, it sprouts very quickly.

Chives in a pot / bucket

Chives can also be grown very well in pots. In this case, too, he likes a partially shaded to sunny place, preferring the warmer place.

In winter, a commercially available fleece is wrapped around the chives. This prevents frost damage to the roots. If the pot is in a warm location, it is more common for the chives to sprout when the winter is mild.

Location: Although the chives also grow in partial shade, they would prefer a sunny location.

In winter you should allow the chives to hibernate if they are kept in the room: In autumn, the pot is placed in the refrigerator for about six weeks.

Substrate: A mixed soil of humus soil and portions of loamy sand is best. The pH value should be between 6 and 7. Since chives do not tolerate waterlogging, lava stones or pebbles can be placed on the bottom of the pot for better water drainage before filling in the substrate.

To water: The pot should stand on a saucer so that excess water can be removed directly. It is poured when the earth is dry. However, the drying out of the earth must be avoided.

Fertilize: Since most substrates from the trade have already been fertilized, chives usually do not have to be fertilized in the first year. Then you can fertilize every month with an organic liquid fertilizer from April to September.

Problems / pests / diseases

Chives are not very susceptible to disease. Aphids are rare and only attack the chives that are kept on the window sill or the small balcony. The reason is simply the meager food supply in these locations for the pests, which then resort to the chives.

Aphids can often be recognized by the ants appearing at the same time. Aphids can be combated with a stinging nettle brew - which is diluted.

The caterpillars of the leek moth cause severe damage to the chives. Therefore, measures for elimination should be taken immediately. The caterpillars are collected and the leek is sprayed with a stock made from field horsetail. It is also effective to create a mixed culture consisting of strawberries, marigolds, fennel and dill.

So-called chives rust can occur in damp and cool weather. Small spots appear on the leaves that are rusty in color. The parts of the plant that are infected by the rust disease are cut off briefly above the ground. The plant is poured (dilute!) With a stinging nettle broth.

Here you can determine damage patterns and symptoms on your plant and take countermeasures.

The right cut of chives

Unlike other plants, chives do not have to be cut regularly. You just cut off the leaves you want to use. You should stop about three centimeters from the stem.

On the regrowing stems you can usually see a brownish discoloration at the tip. This part is simply removed before it is consumed.

Young chives are only trimmed a few centimeters every other month in the first year to promote growth.

Harvesting the chives

Chives can be harvested all year round. Regular harvesting helps the chives grow better and sprout new shoots after each harvest.

After sowing, the first harvest can take place when the stalks are around ten centimeters long. You cut about two to three centimeters above the ground.

Preserving the chives

If you buy fresh chives in a bundle at the market, they will remain attractive if you wrap them in damp kitchen paper or in a damp towel and place them in the refrigerator. Many people put the bundle in a vessel filled with water, but then the ends quickly look unsavory and the loss of quality is quite high.

Otherwise, chives are easier to freeze than dry.

Dry the chives

Drying chives is not recommended. As a result, it almost completely loses its taste and nutrients.

Freeze the chives

Before freezing, the stems are washed and the water shaken out. The chives must be completely dry before you freeze them. Now cut the chives into small pieces and first spread them out on a plate so that they don't touch. Put the plate with the chives in the freezer. This makes them easier to remove later without the individual pieces sticking to each other.

If the chives are frozen, remove them from the plate and put them in a freezer bag or another freezer container.

Chives use in the kitchen

Chives can be used in many ways in the kitchen. Chives rolls in quark, which is eaten as a spread on bread, are particularly popular. It also tastes good with omelets, scrambled eggs, fried eggs and with potato salad or potato soup.

The aroma is more intense if you cut the stalks very finely with a knife. In the case of cooked or fried dishes, the chives should only be added shortly before serving.

Salad dressings can also be refined with chives and made into a dip or herb butter together with other herbs.

The flowers can also be eaten. They have a smoky taste and can be part of a fresh summer salad.

Chives use as a medicinal herb

As a medicinal herb, chives are best when consumed raw. The essential oils and vitamin C are destroyed by cooking or heat. Therefore, the herb should be eaten raw, for example by consuming it with the above-mentioned dishes.

Chives:

  • has a positive effect on digestion
  • is appetite stimulating
  • dissolves mucus when coughing
  • is diuretic
  • purifies the blood
  • has an antibacterial and antimicrobial effect

Read here: Chives as a medicinal plant

You can find recipes with chives as a medicinal plant here:

Flatulence, digestion