Chives (Allium fistulosum): cultivation, harvest and culinary use

By Hervé , on July 27, 2021 , updated on April 21, 2023 - 6 minutes to read
Onion (Allium fistulosum)

What is the difference between chives and onions?

Chives (Allium fistulosum) belong to the Amaryllidaceae family, closely related to onions. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) belong to the Liliaceae family. These are the two cousins. Chives do not form bulbs, only a thickening at the base of each stem.

How do I know if it's chives?

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), also called civet, appetite, false shallot, is a perennial plant whose bulbs and numerous cylindrical, hollow and conical leaves form a clump.

How to use chives?

Eat chives: their onion-like flavour makes them particularly suitable for green and mixed salads. Chives can be added to mayonnaise, yogurt sauces, cottage cheese or cream sauces. It is used as a seasoning for butter, herb soups and scrambled eggs, but also for cheese dishes.

What does the civet eat?

The civet, also called spring onion, is an aromatic plant from the same family as onions and garlic, recognizable by its long green stem and onion-shaped bulb. You can eat anything with civets, and their delicate taste fits perfectly into all kinds of dishes.

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When to harvest chives?

Chives can be harvested from March until the first frost. This year's seedlings bear fruit in early summer, while older plants produce new leaves in March or April.

How do I know when to harvest the bulbs?

Harvest them after 8 to 10 weeks by pulling the whole plant out, keeping it at the base of the stem, close to the ground. Some onion varieties will turn into large bulbs if you wait too long to harvest them!

Is the chive flower edible?

Chive flowers can be eaten in salads or used as fleur de sel, sprinkled on at the last minute. They can also be preserved in vinegar, like gherkins, but they lose their colour.

When to harvest the civet?

Harvesting Civet Civet harvesting begins in early summer. The leaves should be trimmed if necessary until the foliage disappears in autumn. To enjoy them all year round, they can be frozen after being washed and dried.

How to preserve the civet?

Chives can be stored for several days in the refrigerator as chips. They can easily be frozen without being blanched.

How to keep the cives?

Chive leaves can be preserved: wash them in clean water and dry them by spreading them on a cloth. Then, store them carefully in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. Chives, like parsley, can be preserved by drying.

How to cut chives?

To cut off a few twigs, wait until the chives have reached a height of about 15 cm in spring. Use clean garden scissors to cut the twigs at the root: if you do it halfway up, the twigs will harden off and the ends will turn yellow.

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How to grow chives?

Can be sown in the field in March-April by lightly burying the seeds and covering them with a rake. Plants should be thinned to maintain a 10 cm space between them. It takes about 3 months to start harvesting after sowing.

When to sow chives with the moon?

Chives are an aromatic plant cultivated for their leaves used as a spice. Sow in March-April in light soil. Allow some plants to flower to encourage spontaneous propagation.

Where can I find chives?

Easy to grow, chives only need rich soil (with compost) and plenty of sun. It can also be bought in bunches in supermarkets, vegetable shops, Asian grocery stores or organic shops.

Chives are herbaceous perennials belonging to the Alliaceae family. It is distinguished from onions by its slender, hollow stem, which can reach 50 cm in height. The leaves are also thinner than those of other onion species. Chives are widely used in cooking for their fresh, slightly spicy taste, which goes perfectly with salads, sauces and soups. But how do you grow this aromatic herb? And when should it be harvested? We tell you all about it in this comprehensive article on growing, harvesting and culinary uses of chives.

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