Essential OnionsChives are often overlooked as beautiful flowers. They are the smallest members of the onion family. Their Latin name is Allium eschoenoprasum. It is an perennial plant, which means that it will come back next season, even after a heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. I grew up in an area that had freezing temperatures of minus 40 F. and our huge backyard garden had chive borders that were a foot wide. It was just amazing! Each Spring I searched for the young shoots of chives that sprouted up at the edge of our garden. I would be outside early to snip a few stems of chives for my salad.
A popular addition to cream cheese, chives provide a mild onion flavor. They also add some great color! The stems, or scapes, of chives are cut up into quarter inch pieces. They are then sprinkled over freshly boiled potatoes, added to a fresh garden salad, and mixed into a cream cheese spread. The word, “chives”, is French meaning cive, or the Latin word cepa, meaning onion.
Besides being a great addition to your meal, chives have insect repelling properties. If you plant them around your vegetable garden, you will find that they will help keep your other garden plants healthy.
Chives can be found in many grocery stores. If you enjoy walks, you might even see a few scapes of chives in a front lawn. Just remember, if you decide to pick from a neighbors yard, consider if they spray a pesticide. If so, I would stick to buying your chives from the grocery store, or from your new herb garden!
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