Just like dear Cinderella who was looked down upon by her ugly step-sisters, chives are the hidden treasure herb of the garden. Here are some interesting facts you may not know about chives that may help you better appreciate this Cinderella herb.
Allium schoenoprasum is a member of the Lilaceae-lily family with a milder flavor than its cousin’s onion or garlic.
It has high amounts of Vitamin C and A in its leaves as well as measurable amounts of iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, niacin and thiamine making it nutritious.
Not usually seen as medicinal, Culpeper, a famous botanist and herbalist of the 1600’s saw it as a strong member of the onion family sharing such qualities as to “provoke appetite, increase thirst and ease the belly….helping with the bite of a mad dog or other venomous creatures.”
Stephan Foster suggests that chives can “help reduce blood pressure, strengthen kidneys and tone the stomach. The oil of chive is antibacterial”
According to Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Herbs, chives make a nice companion plant for carrots, grapes, roses and tomatoes. They are said to decrease Japanese beetles and black spot on roses, scab on apples and mildew on cucurbitis.
In years gone by, chives were thought to have magical qualities and were often hung in doorways to drive away evil spirits and disease.
Chives do not dry well, they turn brown so to keep them all year round, dig up a small clump, pot is good rich soil and make it part of your indoor kitchen herb garden snipping fresh as needed.
It is easier to grow chives from an established plant than seed. Since they multiply easily, just dig up and divide the clump of bulbs every 3-4 years for endless chives.
There is a myth about chives that says when Satan escaped the Garden of Eden, every place he stepped with his right foot garlic sprouted and his left onion. Chives perhaps came from finger touches.
While chives can be used basically anywhere you can use an onion in cooking, the flowers of chives are just as flavorful as the leaves and can easily be added to salads, soups or vinegars. The color of them makes for a unique food additive.