FR: Ciboulette GER: Schnittlauch IT: Erba cipollina SP: Cebolleta
BOT: Allium schoenoprasum
FAM: Alliaceae (Liliaceae or Amaryllidaceae)
ILL: Plate 1, No. 7
Chives are a well-known member of the onion genus, native to the cooler parts of Europe, including Britain, where they can occasionally be found wild in dry rocky places. They also grow wild in Canada and the northern United States. Though used since antiquity, they were probably not cultivated until the Middle Ages. Chives have hollow, thin, grass-like stems, virtually no bulb and grow in clumps. The flowers are purple and make a decorative edging. They are perennial, easy to cultivate and will grow in any garden soil. They can be raised from seed, but are usually propagated by dividing the clumps. There is a large-leaved form known as the giant chive. Bunches of chives can be bought at most market stalls in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia, though less commonly south of the Alps.
What is Chive? How to Use Chive Photo Gallery
The flavour of chopped chive is delicately of onion, and its bright green colour makes it an ideal garnish. Chives are used in sauces such as remoulade and ravigote, combined with eggs or cream cheese and sprinkled into soups, potato and other salads and buttered beetroots.
Chives cannot be dried by normal kitchen means, but can be quick-frozen satisfactorily and will keep for a little time in a polythene bag in an icebox or cool larder.
The larger and more strongly flavoured Cuchay or Chinese chive belongs to another species (see Onion).