Make Your Own Chive Blossom Vinegar
Make Your Own Chive Blossom Vinegar
Chives are one of the easiest herbs to grow. Every winter they die off, and every Spring they come back. And then they produce a mass of beautiful flowers. Which is your cue to make your own Chive Blossom Vinegar.
For years I admired Chive Flowers from afar, occasionally cutting some to put in a vase on the kitchen table. The first time I tasted one, it was a revelation. They have a mild onion taste, like chives do, though slightly milder still than the chives themselves.
Chives grow best in the Spring and Autumn. A very hot summer will cause your chive plant to go a bit off, almost dormant. Don't panic, as soon as the cool weather returns your plant will rise again.
Chive Blossoms not only taste wonderful, the pink, lilac and red ones impart a lovely colour to whatever they touch. Such as sprinkled on a lovely, crustless quiche.
When do Chives Flower?
Usually chives flower in late Spring or early Summer. The flowers taste best after they have just opened, when their colours are bright.
After that the colours will start to fade. If you then cut your whole plant back to about 5cm from the earth, the chives will start to grow back again and you may well get a second wave of flowers later in the Summer.
So if you grow chives for the chives as well as the flowers, you might want to keep a couple of plants not to cut back, so you have chives to cut throughout the season.
When you are cutting Chive flowers for eating, always cut each flower at the lowest possible point on the plant, right next to the ground if possible, using a sharp knife or scissors. This also applies to cutting the chives themselves. Once cut, the chive shoot will turn brown and hard, the leaves will turn brown and the chives will go 'woody' and won't be pleasant to eat.
Your chives should be available to eat from early Spring right through to the first frosts of Autumn. Then they'll die back, and return the following Spring.
Are all Chive Blossoms Pink?
No they're not. Some are pink, some are lilac, some are red and some (particularly the Garlic chive) are white. Pink, lilac and red have the most dramatic effect in this recipe. The white flowers work too for that gorgeous pickly-onion flavour, they don't just make the same beautifully coloured vinegar.
Cut your chive flowers just before you make the vinegar. You can compost the woody flower stem.
If you store yours in clear bottles, you can enjoy the beautiful colour even when you're not consuming the vinegar. They look lovely on any counter-top, and are a real reminder of summer in the winter months.
I repurposed a Luscombe Drinks Wild Elderflower Bubbly bottle and popped a new pourer in the neck. I always have some of those pourers around to stick in the top of pretty bottles. They work beautifully.
What do you use Chive Flower Vinegar for?
You can use this beautiful vinegar in any savoury recipe where you'd usually use any vinegar. It's lovely in salad dressings. However I enjoy it the most on chip-shop chips, with seasalt. It has a touch of the pickled onion about it (unsurprisingly as chives taste of onion) and on chips it is simply the best.
Chive Blossom Vinegar Recipe
- Chive Flowers - about 1 cup (I use about a handful in a small jar, enough to fill it basically. So adapt your jar according to how many flowers you have)
- White Wine Vinegar - about 400ml (again, I adapt according to the jar I'm using. You may need more or less, depending on the amount of flowers you need to cover)
- About 6 freshly cut chives
plus you will need
1. Cut your chive blossoms and chives.
2. Lay the flowers on a piece of kitchen towel for a few minutes to allow any insects in them to wander off. Then crush the flowers briefly in your hand to release the oils.
3. Chop the chives.
4. Pack the blossoms loosely into whichever jar you are using.
5. Add the chopped chives.
6. Pour the vinegar over the flowers and chives until they are completely submerged, pushing down with a spoon if needed.
7. Put the lid on the jar. Leave the jar out of direct sunlight undisturbed for about 2 weeks, to allow the chive blossoms to infuse slowly into the vinegar.
Ready to enjoy immediately.