Valley Bounty: Chives

What is a chive, anyway? Is it an herb, or… a vegetable, maybe? They’re herbs, it turns out. I don’t think I’ve ever really given chives the time of day before—their folder in my brain only contained the note “that thing that’s like a scallion but smaller.” But that doesn’t quite do justice to chives or to scallions, as their subtle differences in flavor and strength give them individual identities and applications.

Chives’ greatest strength may be their relative mildness compared to their fellow alliums like garlic and onions. Their ability to support a dish with their onion-like astringent sweetness without overpowering other subtle ingredients gives them a comfortable niche to call their own (and paradoxically, that “niche” may be a wider applicability than its cousins). A couple ways to incorporate them include:

  • Mix freshly chopped chives into soft goat cheese as a snack or sandwich spread
  • Make a simple potato salad of cubed red potatoes, chopped chive, mustard, and mayo (a little of each goes a long way!)
  • Sprinkle fresh chive on grilled seafood or chicken, creamy soups, or fresh-baked pizza (I usually wait until the cooking is done, right before serving)

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)