Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our Favorite Herbs: Chives

Herbs grow obsessively and abundantly in our gardens. Some are set on taking over Mother Judith's garden (along with the blackberry vines) and some grow in buckets. We can never have too many herbs! They add so many nutrients and tastiness to our meals.

I wanted to highlight varieties we have in our gardens so that you might get inspired to buy your own. In honor of my personal favorite, we're are going to start with chives!

We have two varieties growing; common and garlic. Both have distinguished flavors.

Chives, Common are the most prolific of all the varieties. The taste is similar to onions and they produce pretty little purple flowers, which also happen to be edible. I can't get myself to eat the flower though, they are too darn cute!

Chives, Garlic have a garlicy onion taste. The tender and flat leaves produce little edible white blossoms in late summer. (Don't tell chive common my secret, but this variety is my favorite.)

A gardener should grow both of these varieties since they add different but delicious flavors to your culinary master pieces. Chives are in the allium family which includes leeks, onions and garlic. The plant is also an incredibly easy to grow perennial. After the danger of frost is gone, pop the seeds in a plot of ground with access to full sunlight. Water and watch them take off! Chives are also tough in the Central Valley Summers and Winters. They stand tall to the many days of 100° weather. The plant does shrink into hiding during the frost, but returns with full glory when the weather is nice again. Watch out for gophers though, they enjoy eating chives too! You can easily use a pot when growing the plants to avoid this issue. These are incredibly fun and simple herbs to grow, perfect for the beginning gardener.

The health benefits that are associated with chives include:
  • Anti-cancer properties. They contain some antioxidants that fight against free radicals and help fight back cancer tumors.
  • Helps your body digest food better. The plant decreases the amount of yeast, bacteria, and fungi found in your intestinal track.
  • Chives are a rich source of vitamin K which help limit the amount of neurological brain damage and could help promote bone health.
You can add the plant raw into salads, eggs, sandwiches, or burgers. If you are adding them to soups, stir fry, or any hot dishes, make sure to insert them in the last minutes of cooking to help keep the flavor. I also love putting chives on pizza, it adds the extra punch of sparkle the dish needs!

Hope my fellow gardeners have or plan to include chives to your land. You will not regret it!

Nancy Jane


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