Chives refers to a wild plant thought to have originated in Central Asia and now grown as a culinary herb in almost every country in the world.
Chives is a word used to describe an herb, but it is actually the smallest member of the Onion family.
Like other green onions, chives bear hollow green shoots, but more tender and thinner, growing to a height of six inches to two feet. The tiny white bulb of the chive is never harvested for eating. Rather, it is the hollow stems that are used for a mild onion flavour in food.
Varieties are classified as fine, medium-fine, and coarse-leafed.
Fine-leafed chives are often sold during the winter, planted in pots with their roots still attached. Chives are best fresh as almost all their flavour is lost when they are dried.
are also edible and used in salads or as attractive and unusual garnishes.
As with other onion green tops, chives contain a good amount of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and calcium.
A stronger variation are the garlic chives.
Chinese chives, Chinese leeks, flowering chives, garlic chives, gau choy fa, kuchai, (Allium tuberosum) are a relative newcomer to the West, but have been a popular cultivated plant in Southeast Asia and India for centuries.
Garlic chive, Chinese chive, gau choy (and Chinese variations), nira (Japanese) (Allium tuberosum) do not taste, look, or cook like the common chive, but there are superficial similarities. Unlike regular chives, the garlic chive can come in three forms.
One is the green leafy form. Another is the blanched yellow form. The third is the form that has buds on the end of the stems.
Their aroma is definitely garlic, and not chives. Forms of the plant have been cultivated for centuries in China, Japan, and parts of Eastern Asia from where it probably originated. When stir-fried, they do have a nasty habit of clumping together, which is popular to many. Others prefer to have them steamed whole or simmered in broth and then stirred into various dishes.
In contrast to garlic, chives develop a strong root, rather than a bulb. The grass-like leaves grow to a height of twenty inches.
They may be cooked with or without the flowers.
Unopened flower buds are young and, therefore, more tender.
Chinese chives have a broader, flatter stalk that is grey-green in colour. The flavour is more garlicky than oniony, and they withstand cooking better than common chives. These are used in many Asian stir-fries.
is a Japanese variety of the Chinese chive which is used as an aromatic substitute for chives, garlic, and shallots. Blanched Chinese chives are milder in taste than their dark green counsins.