Chives are grown and consumed all over the world. Although a bulb plant like their Allium cousins onions and garlic, chives are cultivated for their flower stalks (called “scapes” in botanical terms), not their underground bulb. Their cylindrical, hollow stalk is actually a leaf and has a mild, oniony flavour making them an excellent garnish, like in our creamy and fresh Spring Pasta Primavera. To maximize their taste, chop or snip them thinly. Heat destroys their subtle flavour so be sure to wait until the last minute before adding them to your dishes!
Chives are really easy to grow, leading some people to call them a “gateway herb” because of how simple they are to raise. They are perennials, meaning if you plant them once, they will grow back every spring. Watch out though – they have been known to slowly takeover gardens! (Depending on your love of their taste this might not be such a bad thing…) When chives flower, they have pretty purple blossoms, a little like the flower of a thistle. If left alone, the plant will go to seed and stop growing. Luckily for us, you can pick these edible flowers, both keeping the plant growing and providing a beautiful garnish! The lovely violet puff blossoms have a light garlicy, oniony aroma. The purple puff-balls are easy to pick apart into flowerlets that add an interesting touch of colour to a salad, or make a stylish finishing touch to a savoury dish.