Many herbs are used as flavorings for our food. The common culinary herbs are used in cooking. Depending on the herb, many different effects can be created that make a most delightsome taste experience. Some herbs bring a specific light and soft flavor to food while the other ones can completely change the taste of it. Most herbs are also attractive, which means that they have an ornamental value, too. Because of its value as an ornament, it makes them perfect for the garden as lawn ornaments or corner plantings.
One of the most attractive culinary herbs are chives, and they are early risers. They are from the lily family, its onion-like member, and have a specific onion and garlic aroma. There is no onion or garlic breath, neither any tearful chopping from this lovely cousin. Its mild onion flavor goes well with eggs, potatoes and fish.
Chives herbs are used in food preparation to impart a delicious, subtle, onion-like flavor to salads, soups, vegetables and sauces. You may use it the same way that you would use onion. The colorful flower heads can also be used as a garnish for soups, breads and salads. When used jointly with other herbs, it still keeps the unique flavor. Since it has such a mild, yet tantalizing flavor, it is hard to imagine a meal cooked without it.
The history of Chives herbs shows that it has long been used in the kitchen, with some recipes from China dating back nearly 5000 years. The French are also quite familiar with chives, using them as a garnish and seasoning. The French herb culinary, offers a traditional herb mixture made of the different herbs mixed together with chives.
The leaves can be used raw, cooked, dried, or frozen. While they are in season, you may pick some of your crop at any time, and it is preferable to use it fresh. When you use the fresh leaves, they are more aromatic. For later use, it is better to freeze them rather than to let them dry, because the dried leaves just do not keep their mild flavor. Freeze-dried products are almost equal to that of using chives fresh. After they are frozen, chives may be packed into small plastic boxes or containers.
The bulbs are rather small, and can be harvested with the leaves still attached and be used as spring onions. They have a pleasant mild onion flavor. But because of the unpleasant flavor of the dried bulbs, they are not so popular as the fresh ones.
The flowers are often used as a garnish in salads. The flowers of chives herbs are rather dry and less desirable than the flowers of many other species.
Chives are still a common herb that is often found growing wild. It is odd and interesting to find out that the early Dutch settlers intentionally were growing chives in the meadows so that cows would give chive-flavored milk.
Chives herbs are commonly cultivated in the garden for their edible leaves but it has the other benefits which attract people. Its thin dark green grassy leaves with the beautiful purple flowers look great in
garden flower beds.
It is an easily grown plant, prolific and hardy herb to grow, even in the first year. Outdoors, chives prefer a cool climate, sunny position in a rich, moist, but well-drained soil. Root rot may occur in wet and poorly-drained soils.
The simplest way to grow chives is to dig up a good-sized clump of them, then, pull the mass of little bulbs apart and replanting them. The chive "grass" can reach a height of about 6 - 12 inches. Its leaves are hollow, it grows in clumps, and makes an attractive border to the herb garden. Chives do not produce a bulb like the other onion plants in the lily family, but it has purple "pom-pom" flowers.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects, mainly flies and bees. Most home seed savers isolate varieties rather than deal with caging or daily
hand-pollination. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
As the leaves grow, cut them for use fresh. You may cut the herbs with the knife or scissors, but the experts say that only the scissors are good for this. If the chives are snipped, they give an excellent onion flavor which you may use in egg dishes, add to cheese and salads, soups and sandwiches and the chives dressing will be perfect for baked potatoes with a steak. Bon appetit!