Thursday, May 26, 2011

Onion or garlic Chive, planting and drying

About a month ago a friend(Susan) told me to stop by and dig up some Onion and garlic Chive.  She had more than she needed and I could have as much as I wanted.  So I took her up on it.

digging up chives
Susan lives in a beautiful place on 2.5 acres in Central Illinois that her and her husband are renovating.  Unfortunately my video camera was not working so I only got a very stills to share on digging up the chives.  As with most things I dig up I use the potato fork to pry plants out of the ground.

Chives are also good for companion planting.  Plant these in among your flowers for a great green back drop or around your garden.

Onion chive
The onion chive leaf most people are familiar with.  They are long, slender hollow leaves.  These leaves can be picked at anytime during their growth, short, medium or tall.  This plant is a favorite of window box gardens and pots right outside the kitchen door.  Fresh chive is ready for all those dip recipes.  Both types of chives will flower and the flower is edible.  Put these fragrant tasty flowers in your fresh salads to add color and flavor.  The onion chive has small purple flowers similar in shape to clover flowers.

flowering chive

The group of chive on the right would make about 1/2 of an 8 oz jar of dried chive.

The garlic chive has flat hollow leaves and be used and dried in the same way onion chives is used and dried.
Garlic Chive

The garlis chive has larger white flowers.  These chive can be planted around the edges of your garden to deter bugs and within your flower beds as really effective green back drop that is edible.

To dry the chive, cut some leaves about 3 inches above the base of the chive plant.  You plant will create addition leaves all summer long so don't worry about killing it or not having enough fresh fro cooking.  Chive is a perennial and I have planted mine on one edge of the garden for future use and divided some of the clumps into smaller clumps to sell at the Farmers Market.

Planting chive here on the other side of trees

When you have a small bunch cut bring inside and run water over to rinse off any dirt and then cut in 1/8 to 1/4 pieces for drying.
Cut Chive

Then I put my cut chive in a container lined with paper towel to absorbs moisture and let set on my kitchen table to dry.  This can take a week to two weeks.
drying chive
Once the chive is dry, store in a jar that will close tightly.

Store in a cool dry place just as you store your other herbs.  The best way to store any herb is a dark bottle.  That is why the "canned" spices will be fresher longer than the clear bottle spices.

Here is the video on HOW TO DRY CHIVE.
Do you dry any herbs from your garden or grow herbs for your summer cooking?

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