The Chive is the smallest, though one of the finest-flavoured of the Onion tribe, belonging to the botanical group of plants that goes under the name of Allium, which includes also the Garlic, Leek and Shallot. Chives are long, thin leaves that grow from 6-20 inches long (15-50 cm.). Some species' leaves are flat, while others are tubular. They resemble green onions or scallions, but are thinner. The bulbs grow very close together in dense tufts or clusters, and are of an elongated form, with white, rather firm sheaths, the outer sheath sometimes grey. There are several related species, including Siberian chives and garlic chives. The Chive contains a pungent volatile oil, rich in sulphur, which resent in all the Onion tribe and causes their distinctive smell and taste.
How to select
Refers to the finely chopped or roughly chopped chive leaves. They may be chopped fine or shredded as per the recipe requirements. Another interesting way of chopping chives would be to chop into big chunks.
Chives are also available dried, but the fresh variety is far preferable. Look for those with a uniform, glossy appearance and bright green color, with no signs of browning.Culinary Uses
" Chives lose their flavor when cooked for any length of time, so they are primarily used raw as a garnish, usually chopped, for example, on baked potatoes with sour cream or yoghurt.
" They may also be added to a dish such as stir-fry for the last few minutes of cooking, or used to flavour butter, oil, and vinegar.
" It is a great improvement to salads - cut fresh and chopped fine-and may be put not only into green salads, but also into cucumber salad, or sprinkled on sliced tomatoes.
" Chives are also excellent in savoury omelettes, on mashed potatoes, both as a garnish and flavouring.
" They may also be put into soup, either dried, or freshly cut and finely chopped, and are a welcome improvement to homemade sausages, croquettes, etc., as well as an excellent addition to puddings and pies. How to store
Use chives as soon as possible, or store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.Health Benefits
" Chives can be used for control of high blood pressure. The whole plant has a beneficial effect on the digestive system and blood circulation.
" It improves appetite, is a digestive, a hypotensive and a tonic.
" It possesses anti-bacterial properties and is used in the treatment of cough, sore throat, asthma dysentery and dyspepsia.
" The most prominent vitamin contained in chives is vitamin K. They also contains vitamins A and C. Calcium is the most prominent mineral.