Until the beginning of May, chives give food strength and fullness. At the same time as the purple blossoms appear, however, doubts arise about the carefree enjoyment of the herb. Can it be eaten despite blooming? The following guide clears up all uncertainties and explains how to deal properly with flowering chives. What culinary secret is hidden behind chive blossoms will no longer remain hidden from you here.
Blossom spoils the taste
With the onset of flowering, a process begins in the growth that seals the end of the wonderful chive flavor. Stems with a bud rise from the eyrie from the end of April/beginning of May. As they now have a heavy load to carry, the green tubes gradually become thicker and more stable. The tender, fresh-spicy treat then turns into a bitter, woody disappointment. The cause of this process is the plant’s endeavor to produce a splendid flower with numerous seeds to ensure its continued existence.
Contrary to popular belief, flowering chives are not poisonous – but neither are they edible. Therefore, cut off each stem as soon as it flowers. As long as a stalk of 2-3 cm remains, the plant will sprout again. Thus, the spicy herbal pleasure continues seamlessly during the flowering period. Incidentally, if brown discoloration forms at the tips of the regrowing chive stalks after the first cut, this is no cause for concern and does not affect the quality.
Remaining stems are edible
The inedibility of flowering chive stalks does not refer to the remaining stalks in the eyrie. You can continue to harvest and enjoy these without worry.
Here’s how to do it right:
- best time is in the early morning
- use clean, freshly sharpened cutting tools
- cut each stalk to a height of two finger widths.
Sometimes a stalk has split several inches above the ground. In this case, cut the stalk above the branch. Thanks to this prudence, both shoots will be preserved for an even richer harvest until autumn. If the split stem is already flowering, you can cut it back to 3 cm, as it is not edible now anyway.
Chive flowers hold delicate surprise
Flowering chives are not only a feast for the eyes. The purple, white or pink flower heads can be excellently integrated as a culinary component in creative dishes. To do this, cut the blossoms from the woody stem and shower them with cold water. In taste, chive blossoms challenge the palate with a combination of spicy pungency and mild sweetness, due to the nectar they contain.
This allows a variety of options for use:
- delicious as a colorful topping for bread and rolls
- fresh, spicy ingredient for crisp salads
- ideal for low-calorie herb curd cheese
- pickled in herb oil or vinegar as a very healthy dressing
Furthermore, the tasty blossoms add culinary zing to warm dishes. In combination with grilled fish and meat, they create delicious compositions that will amaze your guests. Added to mild cream sauces, fresh omelettes or steaming baked potatoes, the blossoms of chives have a hot and spicy effect on the taste buds.
Flower flavor different
The flowers of a chive plant clearly surpass the stalks in terms of spiciness and pungency. However, those who do not like the peppery taste do not have to give up eating them altogether. In a chive flower, the pungency is not at the same level in all parts. In fact, the concentration is highest in the central part with the petals. The outer, purple petals, on the other hand, are noticeably milder and have a flavor reminiscent of sweet paprika.
By plucking only the outer petals and using them in the kitchen, you avoid a spicy attack on the palate. Conversely, friends of the extra-hot palate tickle will only eat the middle part of the flowers fresh or chop finely and add to warm dishes.
Do not discard buds
To prevent a chive plant from producing the energy-sapping flowers, home gardeners harvest the stems well in advance of flower formation. The buds that have already formed are not poisonous, but are far too good to be discarded in the compost. Firmly closed specimens are wonderful for preparation as flower capers. Put the buds, cleaned under running water, into a screw-top jar. Make a brew from 200 ml of herb, fruit or wine vinegar, peppercorns, salt and a pinch of sugar. Pour it over the chive buds, close the jar tightly and let it rest upside down for a month.