Chives for winter

Someone I know–who happens to be quite a good cook–has a twenty year old bottle of chives in her spice rack.  They are yellow.  I’m not sure how one cooks for twenty years with a bottle of chives by the stove calling, “Use me….please use me…”  Unlike a good bottle of wine, chives do not improve with age.  They are best fresh from the  garden; however, they can be dried to get one through the cold, dreary winter.

With August looming, I need to get cracking on the herb drying.  I have not dried any chives yet.  This will spell disaster when the season is over and there are no fresh chives for my morning egg.  It took me awhile to figure out how to harvest chives.  Leaving the strands whole results in a pathetic wilted blade of grass.  Some people freeze the chives in ice cube trays.  That may be fine for soups,  but will not do much for my egg.  I like my dried chives to look like the freeze-dried ones I  buy at the store.  I want to sprinkle them on top of soups, or in my egg, or on cream cheese.  Mmm.

Since I do not know how to freeze-dry chives, I just snip them into bits and dry them in a pie pan.  I discovered this purely by accident.  I had snipped some fresh chives for  cooking but did not use them all.  After a few days, the snippets were dry and looked storable.  They tasted just fine.  So I now make it a practice to snip chives in summer. 

chives--snip with scissors

Here are my favorite uses for chives:

  • In scrambled eggs.  I get a lot of flack from people who know that every morning during the school year, John fixes me an egg sandwich with chives to take with me. : )  Chives are amazing with eggs.
  • In salads, especially if I don’t have any green onion.
  • As a soup  garnish, particularly clear soups but good with tomato soup, too.
  • To make a lo-calorie snack more la-dee-dah, spread a rice cracker with Laughing Cow cheese (or Weight Watchers cream cheese spread) and sprinkle chives on top.