One of the joys of shopping the farmer’s market and growing your garden is you get to enjoy ultra seasonal produce that won’t ever grace your grocery store. One of my goals this spring and summer is to share some easy ways to prepare produce that’s fresh now and stretch your dollar further! I also hope these posts will encourage you to pay a visit to a farm or start growing your own so you can enjoy veggies besides bagged carrots or iceberg lettuce.
Today I’m talking about chive blossoms. As gardeners, we often shudder when we think of our precious herbs and veggies “going to seed,” but in my mind, it’s not necessarily bad news. Sometimes the flowers and seeds may be edible (think cilantro, nasturtium) and if nothing else, those flowers may give the bees and pollinators something to keep them busy. (I’ve spotted at least 3 different kinds of bees in my kale and rutabaga flowers in the last week alone!)
Chive flowers are completely edible – they have a distinct “onion-y” flavor and look so pretty in a salad or tossed at the last minute into a stir-fry. My neighbor Susan tells me she likes to simply bury a chive flower into her garden where she wants a new chive plant, too!
Last year, I found a great idea for making Chive Blossom Vinegar that I wanted to try and never got around to (thanks in part to this post at Food in Jars!). So I was excited to find this beautiful bunch of organic chive flowers from the Terry’s Berries stand at the Broadway Farmer’s Market in Tacoma last Thursday for $1.50. Most of them were just small buds, so I put them in a cup of water over the weekend to encourage them to bloom open a bit for today’s recipe.
I love this recipe not only for how simple, frugal, and useful it is, but also for how pretty it is. (I think food should look good and make you happy!)
- One bunch chive blossoms (I had maybe 1 cup’s worth)
- One jar white wine vinegar (or the vinegar of your choice)
- One pint-sized jar
- One plastic lid OR wax paper if using regular canning lid
Start by snipping your chive blossoms with kitchen shears just under the bud. Soak them gently in a bowl of clean water to loose up any dirt or bugs. Drain.
Next, place the chive blossoms in your pint-sized jar. I’m using a regular ol’ canning jar, but of course you could use any pretty food-safe glass jar that floats your boat. Cover with the vinegar. I found the bottle of Red Star White Wine Vinegar filled it just beneath the rim. Perfect!
Now an important note: if you are using a standard metal canning lid, you are going to want to put a bit of wax paper over the top of the jar first. The reason is that the vinegar will cause the metal to rust and you don’t want that in your pretty herbal vinegar!
I found these plastic Ball canning lids work the best. They sell them for about $5 on Amazon, and I also found them for around $5 at my Fred Meyer store (just look where they sell the canning supplies). These lids are also handy when you open your home canned food and want to store it in the fridge – much easier than dealing with the lids and bands. (Obviously, they are NOT suitable for processing canned food – only for storage purposes.)
Another product I swear by are these Ball Dissolvable Labels. I have used them for a few years now and love, love them. A little hot water and they do come right off. For that reason, take extra care that your hands and jar are completely dry before adding them!
Here is a picture of my chive blossom vinegar. In three weeks, I will strain out the chive flowers. From there, I will use up the vinegar within 6 months. While it looks pretty in my windowsill for this picture, that’s not where I’m storing it!
Don’t mind the ugly flash photography, but that’s what happens when you photograph jars in dark, cool places! In this case, I have my vinegar chilling with my vanilla that’s a-brewin’ out in my garage. We got these awesome old storage cases from a school that no longer wanted them and so rescued them from the landfill! They make excellent food and household good storage. (And yeah…I know we totally lucked out on getting them!)
Incidentally, I used a very similar method for making dandelion root vinegar a couple months ago. I have found I use that vinegar a few times a week! Herbal vinegars are easy to make, often very cost effective, and super nutritious!
Here are some of the ways I’ve used my dandelion vinegar and how I’ll use the chive vinegar:
- Mix with olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper for salad dressing
- Toss in some braised greens with a little bacon and onion
- Add a splash while making chicken broth to extract the nutrition from the bones
- As an ingredient in marinades or stir fries
- Lots more!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also want to read:
- My trip to the Farmer’s Market last week
- How to make chicken broth in the slow cooker (there are lots of chicken sales this week, too!)
- How to make dandelion root vinegar
- How to make dandelion root tea
I’d love to hear if you’ve ever made an herbal vinegar like this, or how else you enjoy chive blossoms. Please let me know if there is something you’ve spotted at the farmer’s market lately that you’d wondered, “that looks interesting… but what would I do with it?”