A part of the same botanical family as onions, scallions and garlics, chives grow from small bulbs and have a long history of culinary and medicinal uses. In the Middle Ages, chives were promoted as a cure for melancholy and believed to drive away evil spirits. Today, we know that chives and chive flowers are high in vitamin C, folic acid and potassium. Therefore, they should be routinely added to recipes to help restore vital nutrients lost in cooking. This herb's tangy, aromatic taste comes from its high concentration of sulfur compounds and other essential oils, which are also partly responsible for its healing properties. Chives ease stomach distress, protect against heart disease and stroke and may help the body fight bacteria that can cause disease. In addition, the herb may increase the body's ability to digest fat.
- The medicinal properties of chives are as varied as their uses in the kitchen.
- Chive simulate the appetite and promote good digestion.
- They can be used to ease stomach upset, clear a stuffy nose, reduce flatulence and prevent bad breath.
- Combines with a low-salt diet, they help lower high blood pressure.
- Plus, they have a mild diuretic effect, as well as some antibacterial properties.
- Chives are valued for their many essential minerals, including cardiac-friendly potassium, bone-strengthening calcium and blood-building iron.
- And unlike most other members of the onion family, chives are high in folic acid (a B vitamin), vitamin A and vitamin C.
- In fact, just 3 1/2oz. of chives supplies enough vitamin C meet your daily requirement of 60 mg.
- If you like the oniony flavor of chives, make your own chive salt to add zip to all sorts of dishes. First, add some chives to some salt. Then bake the mixture in the oven to dry the leaves and blend the flavors. Store in an airtight jar.
- cut chives just before you are ready to use them to preserve their vitamins, aroma and flavor. Chives are delicate; to prevent the loss of essential oils, snip them with kitchen shears rather than chopping or grinding them.
- Don't heat chives or they will lose their digestive properties.
- Grow chives at home in a pot on the windowsill. Wait until the plant reaches about 6 inches in height before cutting. Harvest the chive leaves frequently to prevent blooming unless you specifically want to use the flawers. Once the plant blooms, the leaves become much less flavorful.
- Freeze chives for future use. Frozen chives tend to retain more flavor than dried chives. Snip fresh chives into small pieces, then place them in an ice-cube tray and fill it with water. To thaw, put a chive cube in a strainer.