I like to think of chives as the sprinkle of the savory cooking world. They look great and add a little “something something” to any dish you top them with. Not only that, but they give you a great pop of fresh flavor at the same time.
Let’s get some specifics out of the way first. The scientific name for chives is Allium schoenoprasum. The plant produces not only edible leaves (the kind you are adding to your dishes,) but also beautiful (and also edible) flowers!
Allium refers to their genus which is the same family that includes other fan favorites like onions of all varieties, garlic, shallots, leeks, scallions, and more.
The beauty of chives is that they have onion-esque flavor, but it doesn’t hit you over the head or leave a lingering onion flavor. I like to think of them as a mild and delicate hybrid between onion and garlic in terms of taste.
These can be found in small packages or bundles at your grocery store or farmers market. They are also super easy to grow at home in your garden or on your windowsill inside.
Chives are most often used to garnish a finished dish and are great on everything from steaks and chicken to roasted vegetables and salads to appetizers like deviled eggs and mini quiches. I like to use the leftovers to top my scrambled eggs in the morning.
While related to onions and garlic, chives fall into the herb family.
What is the difference between chives and green onions?
This is a common question and one that I wasn’t too sure of for a long time myself. Turns out the two are entirely different plants. While green onions are tall and slender, their stalks are mostly hollow and end in a bulbous, well, bulb that is underground.
Chives however have tall, slender stalks that are much less wide in diameter and they end in bulbs that are so small that they are barely noticeable.
What is the best way to store chives?
I keep chives in the fridge unwashed and wrapped in a damp paper towel in a plastic container or a plastic bag in the produce drawer. Washing them before you need them promotes them to go bad more quickly. Typically you can expect about 3-5 days of life out of fresh chives stored in the fridge.
Can I use green onions instead of chives?
In a pinch, sure. Because green onions are so much larger than chives, I would definitely mince them a bit more. In most scenarios, the green onions are probably a bit more pungent in terms of flavor so you might want to consider using less of them.